I am the frame of the Mercury Sable folding in on itself.
I am the crippled steel and broken glass.
I am the tires; skin burned onto warm pavement.
I screech with pain as I am pushed across the road.
Everything goes black.
I become the lacerated liver that screams from the crushing pain of the seat belt.
I am the incoherent babble on the lips of the blonde haired driver.
I am also the smile that plays across my dying friend’s face.
I am the bright light reflecting off the white coats of the emergency room angels.
The twenty questions the doctors ask are me, too.
I transform into the warm, salty tears streaming down my mother’s cheek; perfect wet orbs
reflecting the pain in her heart.
I am that pain, the sharp dagger ripping out her soul when she gets the dreadful call.
I become the crumpled heap of sorrow and grief that is my mom.
I am the dry, tear less eyes when I am told my friend has died.
I felt it, down in my deepest core.
I am the nightmare that will not end.
The eyes that will never open.
The tears that will forever flow.
I am the hate filled eyes of my friend’s father questioning me, asking,
“Why not you? Why not you?”
Why not me?
Because, I am an unfinished book; the pages of life still being written.
I am the smile that invades the mind when eyes close,
and I am the bright blue eyes that captured my heart.
The soft sweet whispers and tender kisses are me, too.
I am the words dancing across the page,
a rough draft yet to be completed.
I wrote this poem in high school after I was involved in a fatal car accident that took the life of my good friend Phil. I was driving him home from lacrosse practice when we were t-boned by a truck at a blind intersection. I vividly remember turning left and then I remember waking up in the hospital with my priest an my parents standing over me. The in between is a blur. I vaguely recall blurring figures in white shining lights in my eyes. There are voices, and questions, too but it is all a jumbled mess. Someone took my shoes. I think they had to cut my shirt off of me.
“They stole my shoes,” I said to my parents when I woke up.
“Who?” They asked.
“The doctors or someone,” I replied my eyes getting heavy. My dad laughed. In the midst of this tragedy his genuine laugh stands out in my mind. Funny how this was my first thought upon waking. I never did see those shoes again…
When my family and my priest finally told me that Phil was dead, I barely reacted. I already knew. I was having vivid dreams while drifting in and out of consciousness and I had seen it in a dream. My lack of reaction must have scared everyone, because they repeated that Phil was dead.
“I know,” was all I replied and I pretended to go to sleep. I didn’t want to deal with it. I didn’t want to face Phil’s family, or my friends. I dreaded the hate that I knew was coming from my classmates.
When I finally returned to school, I was bracing for anger, and hate, but all my classmates showed me was kindness, understanding, and love. I was racked with guilt. I blamed myself for Phil’s death. I was certain his parents blamed me too. I was so sure that the whole world should blame me, that I couldn’t except everyone’s kindness. I smiled and pretended that things would be okay, but inside I felt hollow. I wanted to die.
Eventually all the pretending to be happy started to morph into what felt like real happiness. Part of me still wanted to die, but I was determined to make the best of my life, because I owed it to Phil. I needed to live life not only for myself, but for my friend whose time was cut so short.
So, I set my sights on the University of Michigan and was determined to get in. When I was accepted into UofM, it was one of the best days of my life. I got to attend the school of my dreams, I got to play lacrosse there, and I made life long friends. However, I still hadn’t dealt with my feelings over Phil’s death.
It took me many years and many bottles of whiskey to finally come to terms with the guilt that racked me since Phil died. That story, however, is best saved for another day. Just know this, I found happiness, and the guilt finally melted away. I didn’t do it alone. I had great friends, a loving family, and a kick ass dog who all helped me along the way.
Point is, there is always light, even when life feels so dark that you aren’t sure what way you are facing. I know first hand how hard it is to see the positive amid the sea of negativity, but persevere you shall, because life is too damn good.
Also, I miss those shoes.