That Song on the Radio

That Song on the Radio

A Story by Elizabeth Laughlin
"

A schizophrenic teen is in a car accident and suddenly remembers the life she had when things weren't so complicated.

"
Even though I am technically alive, my lungs are numb. What does oxygen feel like, anyways? Strapped to the Honda's backseat, I feel suffocated and highly uncomfortable. A person I don't recognize steers the car, one hand on the steering wheel and the other flying out the cracked window. This seems dangerous but I don't speak up because the breeze creeping in helps me grasp sanity.

Calm down, Faith, I tell myself repeatedly.

The thing about this is that everything that happens to me is inevitable; since I do not prepare, everything arrives a surprise, a total jaw dropper. Squeezing shut my eyes, I collapse back into the mind and body of a four year old. She stares at everything, such as the curious colors of autumn, with wide eyes and great curiosity. When she looks up, a bright smile greets her.

"Whatcha lookin' at, Faith Renee?" her twenty year old mother asks. The mother wears much beauty and glistening green eyes that represent strength. The little girl does not respond, just grips her mother's hand tighter.

While in her mother's arms, the little girl temporarily escapes her own frightening thoughts. She focuses only on the road in front of their porch. Because of the morning shower, the pavement appears damper than it actually is; every once in awhile, she notices a car coming past way faster than it should.  They live on top of a very secluded hill, though, so none ever face punishment.

Across the road rest rows and rows of changing elm trees. With her young near, a doe skips, and crunching leaves beneath her hooves become the only noise apparent. "Look at that!" Faith's mother, whose name is actually Melody, whispers with excitement. Her daughter grins ear to ear and instantly redirects her attention.

The little girl drowns into a world of bliss, and they sit still for almost twenty minutes. They don't speak because the moment is too vulnerable, too pure. After Melody smacks her parched lips together, she excuses herself inside to get them chilled cider. To Faith's disappointment, that's when the shrewd truth happened.

One of the baby deer trample into the middle of the road.

Instintively, the mother chases after him, only to be soon confronted with a car's windshield. Like most things, there were no warnings, no way that the mother could have prepared. She sacrificed her life for her baby's, and as a result, they probably both died. Without a mother, the babies most likely suffered in the bitter cold of winter.

Several nostalgic minutes pass before I realize that was twelve years ago and how much things have changed. What most likely triggered that memory is the fact that we are flying on that very same road. In the front seat, a girl and a guy rapidly move their lips to the lyrics of a blasting song. The constant beat gives my entire body goosebumps, and once again, I want to cry out.

"Let's see what else is on," the girl, whose face is blurry, suggests. Internally, I thank God for her statement. I breathe a sigh of relief as they flip through the songs, and eventually, they stumble upon one I'll never forget.

Even though I am alive, the only thing I hear is the voice of an angel. The singer, who I have never heard, instantly reminds me of my mother's soothing voice. God rest her soul! For whatever reason, only she conquered the voices that thrived in my brain. While that song plays, though, I leave behind all the tortures. I remain powerless against the lyrics that put my brain to rest.

Swirling fiercely around us, the surrounding scenery becomes a kaleidoscope of colors.

***********************************  ***********************************  ***********************************  ********************************

"They didn't treat you right," a sincere voice says, "and I'm so, so sorry for it. You know I loved you...I was being very selfish. I never should of had a child so young. I never should of had a child at all, but I'm thankful I did. Those four years we spent together were better than my wildest dreams. But I spread the disease to you-" My eyes are closed. "Faith, I know you're awake, sweetheart."

She is exactly right. For the first time, I am truly alive, and while running towards her, I feel infinite. Before I opened my eyes, I lay there peacefully on the side of the road, comforted by satin and a bed of roses. My heart bleeds love instead of confusion; when I embrace my mother, I remember what it once felt like to feel worthy. She weeps joyously onto my shoulder.

"I gave you up, Faith," she admits, but I feel not an ounce of betrayal. Still love. "I couldn't afford to take care 'a you, and I thought the couple I picked would." My mother shakes her head as her lip quivers uncontrollably. "You had schizophrenia because I gave it to you." Her eyes glow in the blazing sunlight. Across from the road we are standing on, a joyous family of deer prance through the forest. The air smells like the homemade pumpkin pie I used to scarf down on Halloween, my mother's favorite holiday.

I am unaware what schizophrenia even is, but I do not care. I want this moment to last forever.

"How did I die, Mom?" I ask, because that's the only thing I care to discover. With a frown, she taps her foot on the bed of roses. Fragments of my memory arise, but they do not make sense.

They only stand as flashing images until my mother reminds, "Your guardians were both driving drunk and speeding. They crashed into a tree, Faith." She sets her soft hands into mine and tells me, "They both lived." And that's when I remember that song on the radio, and before I could share this with her, she beats me to the punch.

"If I die young," she recites only the words, "bury me in satin, lay me down in a bed of roses. Sink me in the river at dawn, send me away with the words of a love song." That's when, with a broad smile, she squeezes me like she did when I was a little girl. "I actually have some good news." I tilt my head. Good news? Nothing was better than Heaven.

Her finger touches my heart, which starts to glow. "Your illness is dead, but your soul?" My mother flashes an even bigger smile. "It is immortal."

"How do you know it won't come back?" I ask, wondering if maybe this is all just a hallucination of some sort.

"Your name," she replies.

© 2013 Elizabeth Laughlin


Author's Note

Elizabeth Laughlin
Tear it apart, please! :)

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Featured Review

I like how you write in a very fast-paced and urgent way, it really makes the reader not want to stop and feel as if you're too far to turn back even just a paragraph in! It is a bit confusing though, took me a moment to realize what the jump in the story was and make sense of it all. If you can find a way to generate a nice flow this piece it will be very nice though! :)

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Lovely writing I like your style. You definetly write in a feminine way. And I don't mean that in a bad way, just how you explode with enthusiasm in how you write. I like that :)

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I like how you write in a very fast-paced and urgent way, it really makes the reader not want to stop and feel as if you're too far to turn back even just a paragraph in! It is a bit confusing though, took me a moment to realize what the jump in the story was and make sense of it all. If you can find a way to generate a nice flow this piece it will be very nice though! :)

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I'd love to tear it apart, but there really wasn't much wrong with it that you couldn't fix with a simple rewrite... things that we often miss during the first draft of anything we work on. I thought the story took on a meaningful turn and I love how you use the song to fit into the characters situation. I felt a bit of an inevitability in death as well as life, but it was a good thing. Very inspirational.

Posted 6 Years Ago


"Whatcha lookin' at, Faith Renee?" This is her mother, it sounds impersonal when she uses her daughters full name. I get that you're trying to get that information out there but this story doesn't require her full name to be known.
Nice transition from 1st person to 3rd person.
Love the Perks reference here (I am a fan of the book)
I think it was a great story, personally I felt some parts were awkward. Like right after hearing the song and you transition into somekind of world where she's with her mother again. It kind of muggles the whole story. It took me a second to get that ok, she's a soul who had a flashback within a flashback.
I thought the flashback and the deer story kind of worked. You set up the feel that the street was dangerous, families died. And the baby part with the deer worked great but the mother? Since you never say how the mother dies (or if she is I just kind of assume) the mother deer doesn't really have meaning.

In the end I love this piece! You did really great! You are an amazing story teller, I can't wait to read the finishe version of this and read more of your work!

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Enjoyed the careful use of words.
Now make it more consistent as TLK and Jade suggested.
I appreciate the flow until the disruption set in.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is a really nice story although
I feel like you can add so much more to it
I was lost as I was reading it at times
I can tell you're a good writer with great ideas, just go over this piece so you can make sure the reader understands it.


Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Elizabeth Laughlin

6 Years Ago

Thank you :) there is always room for improvement and I'm glad you helped point out what needs some .. read more
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TLK
I really want to enjoy this. You have a nice eye for details, and phrase them well -- writing with style, but not overloading the taco with the multiple sauces of adjectives and adverbs. Neither do you use ridiculous metaphors: a particular pet peeve of mine.
These details are weaved together to produce a coherent narrative. The first paragraph shows the tightness achieved with disparate elements, and it predisposes me to be very interested in your writing.

However, I was defeated in terms of understanding this as the narrative shifted from the crash to the cognition to the flashback. I floundered for a while, and then I read your own description, and this helped. However, on its own, it is hard to say that this piece of writing adds up. It is not a poem, and so it can't slide by on brevity, style, and emptiness. As a story, I want the substance to come through. Considering your themes, the substance will come through falteringly and without clear answers, but I'm not left even being able to half guess at the truth/truths of the matter.

I guess the only advice I can offer is: re-write it for the reader after you've written it for yourself. I'm not able to model this advice, as it takes me a ridiculous length of time to get back to re-writes. But there you go.

One typo I noted was "Instintively".

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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431 Views
7 Reviews
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Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on April 14, 2013
Last Updated on April 14, 2013
Tags: Family, Sad, Teen, Short Story, Drama, Tragedy

Author

Elizabeth Laughlin
Elizabeth Laughlin

Greensburg, PA



About
I am an eighteen-and-a-half year old who goes to the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, majoring in English Literature. Long story short, writing is my absolute life, and reading is a close secon.. more..

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