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Chased by Reality
The car drifted around the corner, tires screeching across wet asphalt. Ben glanced in the rear-view mirror cursing the sight of lights flashing blue and red. Rain poured relentlessly from the night’s sky.
“Faster Ben! Let’s lose these guys. Go! GO!” Brian frantically urged from the passenger seat. He was Ben’s friend, a partner in crime... Literally.
Ben drove faster, his foot gradually pushing the accelerator until they were moving at a dangerous rate of speed. He didn't want to go to jail. It would be the abrupt end to every dream he had. Several strategic turns later, the once pursuing lights could not be seen. They had lost them. Dazed by adrenaline, they stumbled out of the car and sprinted to an abandoned apartment, finding a place to hide. Ben’s dark hair was soaked, along with his California shirt and favorite pair of Vans. The rain never once let up. Likewise, the pressure of the chase never did either.
Some people talk about life flashing before their eyes during moments of impending doom. However, this was not the case for Ben. As he rested there, feeling the burn of his lungs with each sharp breath, his life played slowly. Personal moments danced about in long-lasting fragments, almost as if ingrained to a vintage film strip, leisurely projecting within his brain.
It began with innocent moments of early childhood in California. Playing soccer. A time where he never understood why old people died. He remembered the age of seven, the time he moved to a small Utah town where he and his family would stay. The taste of his mom’s cooking, now a faint memory on his tongue. He reminisced on a snow day. He could almost feel the powdery snow
used for a snowman and recalled the pride he felt when admiring the snowman’s legs and mohawk. That was the only day he ever saw his cousin, Victor, cry.
Ben snapped back to reality. Distraught and frightened, he felt a sting in his eyes. No shame, though. He never considered crying as a weakness. Letting out a heavy, but silent sigh, Ben slipped back into the dream that devoured his thinking.
Flashback to college courses in the summer. He felt the struggle of doing hard things and the sense of accomplishment when it was over. The people he spent those few weeks with left an imprint on who he was, like a tattoo on the skin. He remembered the days where he felt free, never running from anything. As a self-claimed go getter, he would always chase what he wanted.
The once chaser, now a chasee.
As Ben sat there his rapid breathing eased. The adrenaline seeped out of his body and left his limbs feeling lifeless. He once felt like the storm outside, full of fight and backed by endurance. However, Ben did not feel that anymore. He felt as if he had no presence in comparison to the rage that carried on outside, for he paled in its magnificence.
One last relapse into the dream that drugged his mind. The highlights of life. A trip to California with his summer school family. Relaxing and listening to good music. Working alongside his brother. Making people laugh. Hugs. The scent of a bonfire. These are the small things he lived for. The seemingly insignificant pleasures that made life an alluring enigma.
“I feel that this could very well be the end.” Brian concluded. His voice sounded like a surrender, a white flag swaying in a wind of desperation. Brian continued, “Did you ever expect life to be cut so short? Do you not have dreams and plans that you cannot leave behind?”
Ben stared blankly into the air as if the question floated in it. It was a naive question.
Without hesitation Ben began, “I have a goal to get a Master’s degree in Business Management. I dream of a family, and I want them to have everything they could ever need. What I do is about who I will become.”
There was a sense of surety in his answer, for Ben was a confident individual. Yet, he was coming to the realization that this was an end he was not ready to face.
Distant sirens echoed this newly established reality.