Accident

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The wind whistled through the old maples in front of Markview High School, making Samantha Curt pull her jacket a little tighter around her. As she trudged around the neat piles of fallen leaves, another strong wind blew. Her red knit hat flew off her head, mussing the dark hair it covered. She mumbled an explicative and chased after it. “Gotcha!” She declared triumphantly. As she sat up, she knocked into somebody. “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry.” Sam’s face was red as the realization of who she had bumped into processed. “Don’t worry about it. Cool shirt.” Max said. She glanced down at her Beatles shirt and looked back up. “Tha-” Max was already in motion. “Thanks!” she called across the lawn. He turned back, waved and smiled before continuing on his way. “Stupid!” Sam said, smacking her head with her palm. Pulling the hat over her unruly hair, she ran to catch her bus.
“Where the hell have you been Spam?” Her best friend Jane called to her as soon as she scurried around the car to the passenger side. “Sorry, sorry. My hat got away from me.” Jane groaned with exaggeration and rolled her eyes. Sliding into the old Volkswagen , Sam noted how it smelled like Jane’s perfume and the crumbs from the donuts the two always buy for breakfast were ground into the old upholstery. Closing the door, making sure not to slam it, Sam commented “I love your car.” Jane turned, giving her friend an odd look, glancing around her beloved Bug. “Yeah. I do too.”
The two drove home in near silence, with only Jane’s pop music playing softly on the radio. Sam leaned against the door and admired the way the sunlight brought out the reddish highlights in her strawberry blonde friend’s hair. Jane turned and waved. “Didn’t your mother ever tell you staring is rude.” She tilted her head and gave Sam a look that was jokingly disapproving. Sam pulled her own long hair over her face and made a mustache. Twirling the ends she laughed evilly. Jane glanced over and began cackling like a witch. Pulling her feet off the dash board, Sam tossed her head back, wrung her hands and laughed as manically and loud as she could. Jane started laughing. She was laughing so hard tears were streaming down her face. This caused Sam to laugh for real and the two girls were holding their stomachs and wiping their eyes. “Goodness Spam,” Jane said, referring to Sam’s nickname from elementary school where the two first met, “You are a loon!” Wiping her eyes on her sleeve, Jane shook her head. “Crazy as a fox.” Sam cackled again and bounced up and down in her seat. “It’s one of my many charms!” She shouted. Jane eased the brake as the light changed to red, and reached for the glove compartment. “I need a napkin or a tissue of something. My sleeve is soaked.” Now dancing crazily, Sam waved her arms and wiggled her fingers in Jane’s face. Slapping her friend away, Jane laughed again. As her friend dug through wrappers, batteries, and old lip glosses the giggle caught in Sam’s throat. Glancing up through the windshield, Sam saw the huge blue truck sliding on a thin patch of left over ice straight toward him. A blood curdling scream erupted from her as they collided. Jane looked up just in time for the windshield to implode.
Sam woke up in a hospital room, various tubes running from her arms. The first thing she saw was the speckled ceiling. The second was the various liquids being slowly dripped into her bloodstream. The third, her mother, crying in her sleep in the chair placed at the foot of the bed. Sam moved to sit up, and knocked over a plastic cup of water on her bedside. Her mother was instantly awake, already moving to clean up the spill. “Mom” Sam said softly.
“It’s okay Samantha. It was an accident. Accident.” Her mother kneeled by the wad of soaked paper towels and the cracked cup. Instantly, Sam was by her side. Just wrapping her arms around her mother made her feel better. Then the memories trickled back. The truck, the impact, Jane’s panic. Oh God, Jane. Sam stiffened and her mother pulled back a bit. “Jane?” Sam asked, afraid she already knew the answer. Her mother’s only response was to pull her back into a hug. Sam curled up and sobbed. Sobbed for the past memories, how hard they laughed in the car, for the plans the two had for their futures. Being in their junior years, Jane had already decided she wanted to get marry young, and have four kids. Samantha sobbed for her never-to-be godchildren. Eventually, Sam fell into a restless, dreamless sleep.

Jane’s service was held the following Sunday. It was closed casket and Jane’s mother had to be supported as it was lowered. Sam was numb. She cried silently throughout the entire service. As her mother drove her home, every block brought back an onslaught of memories. Jane and Sam skipping back from the ice cream truck at age seven. Sam falling and scraping her hands and knees at age nine. Jane holding her hand and patching her back up with Hello-Kitty band-aids. Jane had always been the sweet, popular, caring one. Without her, Sam was lost.

Because a life without friends, is a life without joy. And what is a joyless life? Nothing.





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