by Stacy Thowe
Red…yellow…red…yellow…bright white…It’s funny the colors you see when facing the end of your life. Blue…red…blue…red…bright light.
I grab at the dashboard. Thoughts ascend of my mother as she woke me that morning. “Remember your homework,” she said as the white light creeps into the darkness and I awake. I stumble toward the shower with thoughts of playing in the football game Friday night.
Bright lights surround me as I enter the stadium. I am running with my teammates. The coach yells at us to hustle out. I stand by the sidelines and watch the crowd. It is blurred due to the intense lights. The cheerleaders jump and chant over the noise of the crowd. I spot my mom sitting in the stands.
Red…yellow…red…yellow… bright white…
I arrive at school and head for my locker. My friend Josh calls my name and I turn with my weighted backpack grabbing at my shoulders. I smile and wave as he walks toward me.
“You going to practice after school?” He asks almost floating by.
“Yeah, man. I’m going.”
“Can you give me a ride home?”
“Yeah…but we’ll to hurry. I have to work tonight.”
“No problem,” he echoes.
I keep walking.
Kelsey is standing by her locker. I make my way past her and slow down trying to think of something to say. She looks over and smiles at me. I rush past her and head up the stairs. From the top of the stairs I look down and see that she is gone.
Sirens blast with the lights…red…blue…white…blue…red and I try to lift my head.
My mom is yelling at me to come and eat. I am on my phone talking to Kelsey. She agrees to come to the game Friday night.
In the locker room I suit up and pray the coach will play me today. Darkness surrounds me in the locker room. A beam of light is released into the room as the door to the stadium is opened and we run full force into the light.
Red…yellow…red…yellow…I look over at Josh and he is slouched over the dashboard. There is blood on my hands. I can’t see in front of me. Smoke fills the compartment as the sirens become louder.
I run down the stairs of my home and see my little sister is getting ready for school. She sits on the floor watching a cartoon while putting her books in her backpack. My mom yells at me from the kitchen.
“Are you hungry?”
But I never am. I am in too much of a hurry. My mom stands at the stove making pancakes.
I grab one and pick up my backpack waving as I walk out the door. My sister gets up and runs toward me grabbing my legs. I push her off and tell her I will see her after school. She returns to the floor, plopping down in front of the television as my mother walks out of the kitchen.
“Be careful,” she says.
In math class my mind wanders to Kelsey. Why didn’t I talk to her? She must think I am some type of idiot. I sneak my phone out during class and check for messages. There are none.
After class I meet with my counselor to discuss the date for my college prep test. I have been putting it off, so my mom called the school to make an appointment for me. It irritates me that I am being forced to take this test. I am not even sure I want to go to college. I may have had enough of school. I sit and wonder as the counselor speaks to me, asking me questions. I wonder what school Kelsey plans on going to.
I race out of the practice with Josh trailing behind me. The bright lights of the stadium surround us as we reach the darkness of the parking lot.
I can hear my mother saying, “Remember to wear your seat belt.”
We enter the vehicle and seat belt ourselves in.
I race onto the two lane road and pass a car that is moving too slow…
We are moving too fast. We are laughing too hard…I look away from the road for an instant and the light turns red.
The sirens are louder. Almost to the point of a dream. An echo. The colors a mixture now of reds and whites and grays.
Flashing lights outside the car. I hear a voice through the cloud.
“Hang on, son,” the voice says.
I flash back to Kelsey as I hear my phone go off. The screen lights up with her face. I turn to Josh who is silent as the colors start to fade, and I close my eyes.
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Stacy Thowe has written many published short stories and poetry. She is the author of the young adult novel, “The Guardians: Angels, Demons and Mortals.” She hopes to inspire readers in such a way that they take a portion of the story away with them long after they reach the words, “The End.” You can read more of her work at stacythowe.com.