White Wall

A lucky thing is to be able to forget. I don't know if I made that up or if I found it on some cheap midday television show. But I do know that it's true.

I know that I should get out of bed but I just can't bring myself to make the effort and move. All I can do is stare at the white wall of my bedroom. It's not completely white; it has lots of small stains and marks from previous kids who have shared this room in the foster home. I like connecting the smears to make pictures. I know that if I look away, that if I break concentration, if I lose sight of the image that I've been creating for the last few minutes, I'll remember what I've tried so hard to forget.

I look away just long enough to roll over onto my other side and give my numb arm a rest. But in that one instant I can remember everything. My brain starts going in reverse, as if someone has pressed the rewind button on my life.

It's a living nightmare. Lights flashing, sirens wailing and people screaming. The wreckage of the car sits crumpled in the centre of the road, illuminated by the lights set up by the fire-fighter crew. I can see a hefty police officer swaggering up with his tiny notebook like he's giving a measly parking fine.

I can only stand there numb as purposeful ambulance attendants speed past with their stretchers. I have to look away. The noise, the smell of petrol fumes, the sounds of people talking and shouting around me. It assaults my senses and overloads them. I can feel myself being dragged back further, to the start of the night. When everything went wrong.

The music was wild and throbbing. I stumbled away from the main pack of dancers and greedily headed towards the booze.

I reached over and grabbed a drink from the bench and skulled it down. It wasn't my first and it certainly wasn't my last. I saw my older brother Davis come into the room, his arm around a girl that I hadn't seen before.

"Oscar!" He called groggily, grinning at me as he made his way over. He spied my empty glass. "Whoa, don't have too much booze, bro, you're only 16 and I don't want you carking it."

"You're only 18 and you should see how smashed you look!" I scoffed. He laughed, patting me on the shoulder. I flashed him a cheesy grin. My parents had left us when I was 8. He was the only one I had. That didn't worry me, he was my best friend as well as my brother and he always made sure that I was ok.

"Danny reckons we need more grog," said Davis, fishing around in his trouser pockets until he found what he was looking for. "You want to come along for a ride?" he asked me, jangling the keys in front of my nose.

"Yeah, I'll come."

"Me too," piped the girl. Three more partygoers repeated these words.

We somehow managed to fit all six people in. Davis was in the drivers seat with me in the passenger seat. I buckled up out of habit. The rest were piled in the back, talking loudly and laughing at each other.

The drive started out fine, we got onto the main road as the shops were a 10-minute drive away. The group in the back started complaining that they were getting squashed and yelled for Davis to drive faster.

"FASTER DAVIS! COME ON!!" they shouted together.

Davis grinned wildly and drunkenly and pressed his foot down on the pedal until we were going at 130kph.

"Hey, slow down, Davis," I said, sobering up a bit.

"He ignored me and made the car go faster. 140.

"Davis, slow down. Please!" I begged. The speedometer kept going up. 150.

Davis was whooping with laughter, as was everyone else in the car except for me. I was terrified.

The car drifted onto the gravel that lined the edge of the road. The wheel twisted in Davis' hands towards the bush but he yanked hard, making the car jolt on to the right-hand side of the road.

There was a split second where all I could see was a white wall of light from the headlights of a truck directly in front of us before a tremendous bang as we collided.

The next thing that I saw was a paramedic leaning over me through the car door. I was still in my seat. I looked to my right to see if Davis was OK. He wasn't there. There was a gaping hole in the windscreen. I looked through it and saw the truck crushed against the car and lying crumpled between the car bonnet and the truck was Davis. His lifeless eyes looked up to the stars he would never see again.

I was now alone.