“The next morning”
When I woke up the next morning my mouth was dry, tongue sticking to roof. My eyes felt violated by the stabbing harshness of the sunlight pouring through the window. However, the most noticeable feeling was the way my stomach kept dropping as if I lay on a roller-coaster instead of a bed and I was quickly approaching the first big dip. Groaning, I turned my head to shield myself from the piercing light. I willed my body to cooperate instead of turning against me as waves of nausea washed over it while I stared blankly ahead. I didn’t care to check the time on the clock by the window nor to attempt to get out of bed to quiet my screaming bladder. I simply lay there willing the night before away. It was no use though, the whole entirety of the nights events played before me over and over again.
We were fighting again, Jace and I. Fighting about how he’d quit his job at the small diner we both worked at. His voice was strained as he’d yelled at me, “Emma, will you just let it go already?” he’d implored. “I quit, that’s it, there’s nothing more to discuss, we both know it’s a dead end job!” Gripping the steering wheel tightly I replied through gritted teeth, “The point, Jace, is that it was still a job, dead end or not. Who cares if it leads to nowhere if in the mean time we can pay our bills on time and continue to afford our home.” Sighing loudly, Jace turned towards me, “Ems, look I get it, you’re worried about our future but I promise we’re going to be okay. I’ve already lined up gigs for the band babe.” I scoffed at that. The so called “band” consisted of Jace and three of his lazy ass stoner friends from our high school days. Sure, they could play, they were really good actually. But the only person who bothered to show up to practice or attempted to get them shows consistently was Jace. I’d lost faith a while ago that they’d make it as a band, Jace could go solo but he was too loyal for our own good. “Honey,” I said as calmly as I could while simultaneously switching lanes, “You can’t rely on the band. There’s no way you’re going to make even a half of what you make at the diner monthly. I just wish you would have talked to me about quitting first.” Jace sighed his frustrations at me once again. “Geez mom, I’m sorry I didn’t ask your permission!” Rolling my eyes at his sarcasm I started to retort but was interrupted when I suddenly flew forward from the impact of a truck slamming into us. The car made the most sickening crunch as the frame began to cave. The tires let out a high pitched wail as they struggled to grip the road. We spun and spun for what felt like ages until we finally crashed into a guard rail. I remember jolting awake seconds, maybe minutes after the impact. I looked over at Jace, his face bloodied, body slumped over towards the remnants of the door.
I must have passed out because next I was inside an ambulance. Voices were telling me to calm down, to lie still. A needle pricked me and then I woke up here in a hospital room. It was noisy with beeping and cold the way hospital rooms are supposed to be in the middle of the night I guess. When the nurse walked in she seemed surprised to see me awake. “Well, hello there darlin’.”, she’d had a deep southern drawl and a kind smile. “Hi.” was all I could choke out before she handed me a cup of ice chips. My throat was raw, taking away from the pain that was coursing through the rest of my body. “Your throat will be sore for a while love, you were screaming and carrying on somethin’ awful before the doctor sedated you.” Confused, I swallowed the melting ice chip and let the chill soothe my throat before attempting to speak. “What happened?” was all I could croak out. A look of concern had flashed across her face as she looked over at me from tinkering with a machine at my bedside. “Well darlin, you don’t remember?” she inquired softly. I shook my head and immediately regretted the motion. She moved closer to me, placing her warm hand on mine before speaking again. “Honey, you were in an accident. You are going to be just fine though, nothing another night or two here can’t fix.” She squinted her eyes and paused a moment before continuing as if contemplating whether she should keep going or not. After a few moments of thinking it over she continued, “But…your fiancé, well…he didn’t make it darlin”. That’s when I remembered.
Now, I squeeze my eyes shut trying to remove all of the previous nights events from existence. Outside the window a bird is singing as if the sun is cause for celebration. My body aches all over, something the kind nurse whose name I learned was Maggie, warned me would happen. I reached over and hit the button that would bring in Nate, Maggie’s a.m. relief. He promised to keep me good and medicated while I dealt with my pain. When he said that I wondered which pain he meant, I hoped it would soothe them all. While I waited for the medicine to come I allowed myself to think of him once more. It seems frivolous now, being upset over him quitting that stupid job. Just as a sob begins to snake it’s way from the hollow space within me Nurse Nate walks through the door. “Emma, it’s going to be okay.” he coos as he injects me and I begin to slip off. This time when I see Jace’s face it doesn’t hurt.
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by to read my short story! It’s random I know but I saw a prompt posted on twitter and this was the result. Thanks to @writerlytweets for giving a prompt starting with “when I woke up the next morning…” it was supposed to be a ten minute challenge but I took a little bit of extra time since I decided to write this story. Make sure you guys follow them, they have good content! See you next time!