Is it okay to be normal, at least for a little while, to lay back and pretend that you aren't different from everybody else? To pretend that you matter only as much as a single ordinary person on this big overpopulated planet could matter? To forget, for one moment, that the person next to you is insignificant in the grandness of your life and you are worth more than them, even though you'd never admit to such a thing?
Are heroes really more important than a regular person, or are regular people more important that a hero? Are you just a servant to the general population? I understand if you risked your life and lost it for the sake of a large group, or at least a small group of three, but is your life so insignificant you are required to die for some shithead who would never be worthy of having you spit on him?
How could you fight every monster you ever encounter and find yourself six feet under because some stupid punk teenager didn't make the decision to hang out with at least a single person who would say "you're too drunk," and take your keys away?
Who made these decisions? Where are the Fates and what shoes should I be wearing while I kick their asses? What sick higher being would allow you to parish without even a noble cause to attach to your obituary? Just a simple nauseating performance as you fell beneath the hood, rolling under the tire like a bundle of laundry in the spin cycle, disappearing for an instant in a dark blur before you appeared again in an ugly bouncing motion out of the rear tire, a fumbled football bumbling across the field.
You weren't dead when I picked you up, horribly broken, worse than any fight had ever left you. You looked like you shouldn't be alive, like it'd be better to let you die, but I couldn't. I picked you up and I ran. The car didn't stop, but the little white rectangle at the front would forever be burned into my mind as it came towards us. You'll have tire marks in your skin, and I tried not to think of how the cops will match them to the tires that just crushed you beneath the car for an instant, just long enough to wring the life from you.
I flagged down a car that was driving by. It was a cop car, a patrol officer, maybe the Fates really don't hate you that much, but they still hate you, and I'm still going to kick their asses. Maybe my cleats, designer sneakers wouldn't hurt as much.
The two cops wanted to ask me questions, I could see it, but they drove us to the hospital first. I was almost scared at how fast we were going, how easily this car could hit someone and not really notice, but I was so concerned that I didn't care. Your life was more important than some pathetic little human who was in the street. They were stupid for being in the middle of the street anyway, jaywalking, and living. We were on the sidewalk, but they still hit you. Hit you because you always liked walking on the end of the sidewalk, in that red painted side that said fire lane. You liked to balance on it.
We split the pole; I was always told that splitting the light post between two people was bad luck, worse than stepping on a crack. I never believed it. But then I never saw anybody turned into road kill either. It's a good day for firsts.
You're so pale, I always wondered what they meant by whiter than a sheet, now I know. But the sheet is still whiter, starched and wrinkleless, making your pale skin look at least a little healthier. Maybe it means you aren't all that bad, maybe your skin just hasn't lost the red swelling yet, it also brings your injuries out, most of your scrapes and cuts are wrapped up in the same stark whiteness, but the bruises that are forming, they stand out. They stand out worse than you did at school.
The cops found the guys who did this to you, drunk and high and over packed in their broken-down cheep little ghetto car with spinners. They didn't remember hitting you, said you were lying, like you had the mind to lie, the only thing you're doing is laying here in this bed. This white, crisp bed.
Your family isn't back from their trip yet, we were planning on telling them weren't we? Can I still tell them if you die?
I don't want them to be angry at you but I don't want to simply be the friend that was there. We wanted them to know didn't we? Know that we were together? Maybe mom was right, maybe God was going to punish us. Dad doesn't think so; Dad has always been the understanding one. Amazing isn't it? Dad wanted me to be happy, he always wanted me to be happy, and I think Mom wants me to be happy too, she's out there crying now. Wanting me to come to her so she can comfort me like she did when I was little.
You're the one who needs comfort; you're the one who's hurt.
The cop is out there now. He smiled when he heard you're not in critical anymore. Like being one step away from dead is any different than an inch. Death is still there, looking at you. What difference does it make if it's a foot or an inch or a yard? You can still see it, peer under that thick cloak into those hollow eyes and know of your end.
Do you see it now?
Do you accept it, or turn away from it?
I think I'd turn away, but I'm not really sure. Would it be alluring or frightening? Would it be a peaceful darkness or a cold emptiness?
I know you're not going to wake up anytime soon but, but I want you to know your not all alone in there, staring into the indescribable eyes of death. And when you do wake up, I'll be here still, easing the harsh brightness of the hospital room.
Visiting hours are over, but I've convinced them to let me stay. Mom didn't want me to be here, she was looking at you with that same burning hatred she did when we told her we were together just before we left for your house, before all this started. She blames you, even though you're in pain. She blames you, and is that smugness I see in her eyes? In the firm set of her jaw? Does she think you deserve this? Does she see this as punishment?
Dad looked ready to drag her out, I'm not sure how long they're going to last if Mom keeps acting like this but I hope we don't cause their pain. I know they're in love and I don't want them to separate, but they've been fighting more often these days, Mom spouting her curses and threats, Dad defending us. They're doing it again as they leave, I can hear them through the door.
I hope Mom comes to accept us. It hurts to see her like this, so torn.
That nurse, the one who just checked up on you, she'll be in and out of here a few times, sometimes it'll be another one, you should get used to them. I know you like your privacy but the doctor says you need to be watched.
I'm just going to sleep here in this chair, I'd sleep in the bed with you, I know you and I both would feel more comfortable, but its one of those small beds, the adjustable ones, and you have so many devices connected to you. What if I rolled over and accidentally dislodged something and you died?
Don't worry. I'll be just fine here, in the chair. The nurse left me a nice blanket, woolen, itchy but warm. I'll be fine, you just rest. If you wake up here to this darkness you need only wait for your eyes to adjust to see me next to you. Or listen, do you hear, just listen to my soft breathing. I'm here. Here, right beside you. It's all going to be okay.
You won, even though you weren't really fighting, you won. The bad guys are caught, the town is a little bit safer, at least from drunk teens, and you're not dead yet. You're not dead yet, so just hold on okay?
Just hold on, because we had so many plans and we haven't even started yet.
So dream, dream of that long strip of beach with the gentle waves, dream of that cozy ski lodge and the dancing fire warming our skin, dream of the sweet songs of the birds as we wake early and try and start a fire before the chill of the morning makes our fingers numb.
Dream of me, of us, and of why it's so important that you stay. Because if you leave, there won't be anything left for me.
That beach won't miss you when you're gone, its seen thousands of people be claimed by the hands of time, the reaching tendrils of the ocean, and what is one feeble human life to the mighty mountain who need only shrug a shoulder to send a wave of snow down to obliterate the ski lodge and its cozy couch and warm fire that would not miss the absence of a single couple, the forest filled with all its creatures, each preying upon the other, would it stir should a campsite be left empty for a day or two?
These things would not miss you, but I would.
Live for me.
Live for me.
Wrote this last year. I wondered where it went hiding. I didn't change anything but a few grammar and spelling mistakes. This was written probably just after I started Photo Opportunities. It was on my old broken computer; amazingly I got it working again. Now I have two computers.
I'm not one for follow ups, like with Stupid so Stupid or Come Back to Me. I usually leave it be and, on the occasion, let some other writer come up with a sequel. (anyone want to make a Stupid sequel of my Stupid story?) I get maybe five requests for sequels per one shot; I usually refuse most of them. Sometimes I'll cave and make another, like with Time of Death (though it got kind of raunchy and so is not posted…anywhere.)
So I might make a sequel, if I feel like it, but then again maybe not.
Don't count on it.