You Were Dead.A Story by John McGrael
just a story i sat down and wrote yesterday
I remember the moment you were born, you seemed to leap from your mother's womb and into the doctors hands, ready to conquer life from the very moment you had it. It was not long afterwards that your mother, my wife, died protecting you. You had gone with her to get some ice cream, and on your way back (you were riding a stroller, she was walking), a crazed drunk driver lost control of his car. She knew that she had to save you, and that she would die while doing so. She threw the stroller into the ditch directly beside the sidewalk. The stroller flipped and you landed safely in the depths of this ditch. Your mother jumped on top of you and shielded your fragile body from the rolling car. She was immediately killed, but she had saved you.
So I had nothing but you, my son, and you had nothing but me.
You grew up too quickly for me, but not fast enough for you. By the time you were ten I was just getting aquatinted to taking care of a nine year old, to taking care of a single digit child. But with that extra digit, came extra energy and extra confidence. The world was yours in your mind, and no one, except yourself, could take it from you.
I barely got to know your hobbies you went through them so quickly; before it had been Pokemon cards, and by the time I had the chance to buy you some for Christmas, you had moved on to skateboarding. A drastic change from my view, but for you it just seemed natural. Then it was playing drums with your friend Zan on guitar. The both of y'all sounded something terrible but when I watched you play the brilliant light in your eyes made the music fade away.
By this time you were fifteen and had gotten your permit. You would beg me to drive whenever we went anywhere, and I could scarcely say anything but "ok... if you must."
Then just as soon as I was ready for you to drive me places, you had gotten your license and were driving yourself to school. Always getting speeding tickets and barely escaping wrecks. I did not mind this so much, as long as you did not drink and drive. I thought I had made this very clear to you until that one night.
You were out until 2 am, and walked in the door throwing up. You had been drinking. I asked if you had driven home, and you quickly avoided the question and went up to your room to pass out on your bed. That night I parked your car on top of the ditch where your mother had saved you, and walked home. In the morning you screamed at me through a hangover, and stormed out to reclaim your car; blind to the fact that you would die with nothing to protect the ditch. When you arrived, you could see the tow truck just over the hill with your car right behind it.
Before I knew it you had stolen back your car from the towing company, and were careening down the highway doing 110.
I was watching the news when they showed coverage of the wreck. I could tell it was your car immediately; and I was dead until they mentioned, "driver seriously injured." About this time the phone rang and I knew who it was before I answered. It was the hospital telling me you had been in a terrible accident and were in the emergency room. They asked me to come in immediately.
So I went, and it seemed like centuries until you had recovered back to what they considered, "normal". You could no longer walk fluidly, and would never regain the coordination to play drums again. Your voice-box had been injured by a piece of flying glass and you now had a stutter. Besides that, your body was as it had been, but your mind would never be the same. you no longer had the confidence you used to have, you no longer had the light in your eyes like you were ready to take over the world. You couldn't seem to stay happy, every girl you loved after this would fade away, and a take a little part of you with them.
This went on for two painful years, always listening to you try to talk, being patient as you chose words that were easier to say. I always offered you help up and down the stairs, I always tried to give you back your confidence, and determination to take over the world; but you spat it back in my face. You thought I was babying you, treating you like a child. You thought you were old enough to know that you couldn't take over the world, that you couldn't make a decent living if you were always trying to have everything. You stopped saying, "I love you dad" and started avoiding me.
Then the day you turned 18, I had a terrible nightmare. I was walking with you along a cliff high above the ocean. You were so happy and carefree, how you had used to be. The light was in your eyes, you walked fluidly and talked smoothly. I had warned you to not go near the edge of the cliff, but knowing you, you hadn't listened. I looked away for a second, and heard a scream.
You had slipped and were falling towards the waters. I ran towards the edge of the cliff and sent tears chasing after you, you reached out towards me and mouthed the words, "I love you.". My tear drops could not save you. You hit the water hundreds of feet below with a splash much like that of a raindrop falling into a puddle. I screamed myself awake and ran into your room.
You had gone to celebrate your birthday at a local bar, I spied your fake ID on the dresser, which had your real name on it. I dragged myself into the bathroom pulled by some unknown force, and there you were. You had come in from the night and decided to take a bath. You had passed out while washing your hair and could not get air. You were floating limply at the surface of the water like you were protecting an unborn baby from a rolling car. You were dead.
© 2009 John McGrael
Shelved in 3 LibrariesAdded on May 17, 2009
Last Updated on September 21, 2009
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