I’ve been sitting in a hospital bed for three years just laying here looking into the darkness inside me. Every now and then my family will come to visit me but not as many as when I was first here and not nearly not as often.
I was driving, going to get milk because my two-year-old son, my only son, needed it for cereal. I was so tired and merely going through the motions of driving. I was physically in the seat with my hands on the soft leather of the wheel but my mind was somewhere else. I was thinking of my son, my wife, and my life. I was thinking of how happy they would be when I came home with milk and maybe roses for my wife and candy for my son. Just as I was thinking this I saw the red light, I was going to fast to stop, I tried to press on the brakes but it was inevitable, I was going to run the red light. Just as I crossed the thick white line a giant Black SUV going the opposite direction slammed into my car. I whirled around and then everything was dark.
My world was dark for three years. I could only listen and never see, I could only smell and never taste. I would constantly hear the pleas from my wife, “Please,” she would say, “I need you, I can’t raise our son alone you have to be alright!”
My son would then tug at my ear and talk to me, “Daddy,” he would say, “We worked on math today, Ms. Giles thinks I am doing great.” He would then just stand there as if I would reply to him. My son was the most affected by my trauma; he would stand next to me for hours looking right into my motionless body. He would cry and tell me things that he loved and then cried some more until the doctors had to tell him to leave. It took him so long to realize that he no longer had a father to hold his hand, to teach him and hug him. He didn’t know how to live without a father, without me.
Towards the end of my coma my family would only visit once a month. In their mind I was already proclaimed dead. Then came the morning of January 15th.
I slowly opened my heavy eyes to the bright fluorescent lighting of the hospital room. I knew where I was yet the room I was in looked unfamiliar. I had pictured the room from sounds and smells but this room looked nothing of what I saw in my head. I looked around this room in which my family had spilled so many tears. Everything in the room was cream colored, the table, chair, walls, and the man in the robe. My eyes immediately darted back to this strange man in a white robe. His eyes were dark and tired, his hair a bright white along with his beard, and his wrinkles mimicked those of a dried prune. He was also looking around the room admiring the plain decorations of a vase and a small white picture. His deep brown eyes landed on me and he froze. He took a small dog-eared note out of a pocket laid it open on the table next to my bed and left. He left in the blink of an eye.
I slowly lifted my heavy head and managed to read the small piece of paper.
You were chosen to go back in time and change one event, you must choose wisely as the present you are living in will be erased and you must start from that point in your life. You also need to think of those who will be affected by this change. When you are ready close your eyes and think of that time and then quickly open them .
I didn’t stop to think of how out of the ordinary this note was as I was so desperate I only followed the directions. I closed my eyes tight and pictured the morning three years ago with the screams of my hungry son now ringing in my head I opened my eyes.
I was standing in front of my fridge, I blinked a few times then looked around the room that I knew so well. The hardwood floor, which was still the color of fake oak. The fridge a dull stainless steel that shined in the lighting of the low ceilings, the shelves sloped from the weight of the food they carried.
“Daddy!” I heard a small familiar voice say behind me. I turned around and saw my son standing there with his rocket ship pajamas still on, the little rocket ships flew from his pants to his shirt. His hair was a bright blonde that was now sticking up in all directions, clearly from bed head.
“Tom, honey why don’t you go to the store and get some milk, I would like some for my coffee anyway and Jack needs his breakfast.” My wife was standing behind me. Standing there in the Morning sunlight her sandy blonde hair shimmered and made her look even more beautiful than she already was.
“Sure, is the Powerball still at 500 million? I could buy a ticket?” I asked as I searched the entryway for where I used to put my wallet. My wife’s face flashed with a look of concern, “The drawing was last night remember? You stayed up to watch it special.” My wife said with a slight quiver of worry.
“Oh right, yeah I remember” I laughed, vaguely remembering this memory.
The ride to the store was stressful. I could picture the intersection, the dark black SUV and all the pain I had to go through. Now I had a second chance and I wasn’t going to risk my life again. I decided to take a back road to the store, it would take an extra five minutes but I would rather it be five minutes than three years gone.
When I got to the store across from the intersection, I slowly got out of my car and checked the time on my watch, 7:05, my accident wouldn't have happened for another ten minutes. I ran into the small convenience store and grabbed a carton of milk and a bouquet of roses for my wife and a candy bar for my son. Hopefully I can make up for the three years they will never have to live through. When I was checking out I overheard a police siren zip past the small store. I immediately whipped my head around to the direction of this stressful noise,”A lot of accidents have happened across the street there.” The woman behind the counter said, never once looking up at the noise or me.
“Yeah I know, my friend got into an accident there” I let out a nervous giggle at the expense of myself, knowing what I was referring to.
“Well have a nice rest of your day!” The woman said, handing me a small plastic bag.
“Thanks you too!” I said as I left the store.
As I was walking to my car I looked at the time, 7:20, my accident would have happened already. I survived. I am walking, talking, not pinned inside of a car or on a hospital bed. I glanced over at the intersection out of curiosity, what I saw stunned me. There is a giant black SUV and a small silver car, mangled in a mess of wires and smoke. The lights of the police and ambulances blind me. I am too shocked to move.
I learn later that day the man in the small car died.