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I was standing in the doorway to her room, watching as she was sitting in the wheelchair looking out the window. I was holding a little stuffed monkey in my left hand, searching for support in the dull wall with my right elbow. I could never forget the feelings that flooded over my soul. The guilt, madness, grief, shame, embarrassment and many others that I still can’t name. The knowledge she might never be able to walk again was as painful as feeling of the metal wreck cutting through my stomach.

I suddenly put my head down, closing my eyes from the afflict that doubled as soon as she spoke.

“Darrin.” I never imagined anything as distressing as confronting a person you’ve hurt by simple stupidity. I never imagined anything as hard as facing a person you love, that is, experiencing the consequences of your mistakes that should have never happened.

When I looked up she was curiously studying my face. Her eyes tightened as if she could barely see, yet they were still peaceful as the melody of the birds. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking at the moment, nor how I should respond, how I should start. I turned my face away impulsively. Apologizing is something that won’t turn back the time, will not dissolve the conflicts, and certainly won’t do by itself.

“I’m sorry.” A salty tear slid down to the corner of my mouth. It tickled, but I wouldn’t dare to move. I stood motionless, waiting for her to do something.

“Sit down.” She invited me in after a longer pause. I wanted to run in the opposite direction, but remembered my goal. Dragging myself across the room, I sat down on the chair next to her bed, which was separating us. I looked down. It’s all I was able to do. The surgery wounds don’t heal as fast as they do in the movies. It was a miracle I found strength to walk after such of short period of time anyway.

The shelves were decorated with colorful cards and flowers which gave the room a fresh scent. The balloons with messages such ‘Get Well Soon’ hung from every spot of the ceiling. It wasn’t her style though. She never liked too much of anything.

“One is my favorite number,” she’d always say. “ It means that something is special and unique.” I could listen to her voice, nonstop. I could look into those eyes for centuries. They were as blue as the dangerous ocean. Her way of thinking was as complicated as a labyrinth. I couldn’t even tell what she was thinking or what she would do next. I loved that unpredictability about her. It was the one mystery I always failed to solve.

“Remember what you told me on the road trip few days ago?” Our first road trip. Everyone thought we ran away while we got lost in New Jersey. I proposed to her on an empty field saying all the things that I love about her. “Do you still mean it?”

“I’m sorry.” We hadn’t even graduated and our parents were trying to tear us apart.

“This friendship is not going to end well,” mine used to say, but teenagers don’t like to listen to their parents. I shook my shoulder every time and got out of the madhouse before I exploded. I never wanted to get into an argument about whether I should dump a girl I feel so strongly about. Now I had no doubts our relationship was over.

“Don’t you sorry me! Did you mean it or not?” Her aggravated tone bounced at my ears and I knew what I had to do. I had to tell her what she didn’t want to hear, so our parents would be satisfied.

“I love you.” I whispered. Another tear came rolling down. I couldn’t lie to her.
It was impossible, even if it was for the greatest good. “I’m sorry.”

“No! I told the officer the truth about the other night.” I looked up horrified. Why?
“You’re not the only one to blame. They can’t. They wont! It’s not only your fault!” That is exactly why our relationship didn’t go smoothly. Everything had to be ‘we.’ Gabriella thought she had her own brain and could make her own decisions. I made that one for her. So what if she was flirting, when I was driving. I was driving. I was drunk. I wasn’t careful and that’s what caused the crash. When I looked up she was smiling, as if nothing had happened.

“We can get through this.” Said my fairytale girlfriend I never deserved.





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