Aftershock

Fake car accident. The vehicle on the picture ... Image via Wikipedia

I can’t sleep. Again. It’s 3 am and I’ll be going to work in the morning over tired as always because I can never sleep anymore. The worst thing about being awake in the unearthly hours of the morning is the restlessness. I become fidgety and often end up waking my wife Jenny next to me, creating two irritable adults at the breakfast table. Holding my breath, I roll over away from her to face the rest of the room. He’s there.

He’s always there and yet I’m never ready for it. I have to cover my mouth with my hand as I gasp and all the air is taken out of me. I enter a state of paralysis, unable to look away. There he is, curled up and pale on the rug in front of the door. For someone who didn’t know he could be sleeping comfortably. But I know. I know because I see him everywhere; in the mirror on the bathroom cabinet while I’m brushing my teeth, at the kitchen table when I’m eating my porridge and Jenny’s still doing her make-up in the bedroom. He dips in and out of all my day to day scenarios and there’s one place I can always be certain he’ll be waiting without fail. The very same place he was the first time. At the end of the drive at 8 am on a Monday morning when the shutters are still pulled down over my eyes and the coffee’s only just starting to kick in. I roll down the drive slowly and start to turn. There he is. Running into the road just as I pull out, we see each other too late. He looks directly into my eyes the moment he collides with the bonnet and he opens his mouth to scream. It only rings in my ears after he’s been knocked down, a piercing, haunting scream. Every Monday morning he runs into the road and I have to stop the car, get out and check even though I know he won’t be there. That was only the first time. Now it’s just my brain playing tricks and taunting me, a prisoner of my own guilt. So I get back behind the wheel and cry into my hands, shoulders shaking with the sobs and wondering whether it will ever end. All my life consists of is him unexpectedly appearing, reminding me of what I did whether he’s at the coffee machine in the office or on the opposite escalator at the mall and I don’t know how much more of it I can take. Then I think of Jenny and I know I have to pull myself together and drive, act like nothing is wrong or I’ll be late for work. I have to clear my head of the little boy I killed with my car bonnet three months ago on his way to school as always, carefree and not looking where he was going.

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2 thoughts on “Aftershock

  1. Sad. I always worry when I’m driving about the things you can’t predict. Someone decided to run across 12 lanes of freeway traffic during commute hours the other morning and got hit and killed. I doubt it would haunt me, but I’d sure hate to be that driver.

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