They’d been talking for almost thirty minutes. Coming from opposite sides of the city, they often chatted at this time of the evening, driving to their respective homes. It passed the hour in the car and it gave them a chance to talk about the things that they didn’t get a chance to talk about when they were with the others. They were very close, virtually siblings, and could talk to each other about anything – they even had the same taste in men.
“Anyway,” she said, in her matter-of-fact way, “you need to take care of YOU first. It’s almost 7pm and you’re just leaving work now? That’s not good hun – you’re no good to me as a burnt out mess!” He smiled to himself. She really understood him and she was right. “Yep, I think I have to make a change…”.
He was about to tell her about his plans to suggest some changes at work when he heard a loud bang and the screaming of metal tearing. He heard her cry out and then….nothing. Oh God, he thought, what the hell was that? He shouted her name but it was no good, the phone was dead. He tried again and again but couldn’t reach her.
He knew she was in the tunnel because she’d just warned him that she might lose reception even though she never did. For a few moments, he tapped the steering wheel … impatiently … nervously … trying to decide what to do but it didn’t feel right to just go home. He quickly changed lanes and pulled in behind the slowest line of traffic that was crawling its exit to the city.
It was only twenty minutes but it felt like a lifetime to make it to the tunnel. The radio had kicked in when the phone disconnected and while he couldn’t stand to listen, he kept it on in case of a traffic update.
Where the hell was he going to park? Sometimes he really hated this city. So many roads, so much traffic, so many people, so many cars. He parked his car illegally as close as he could get to the tunnel and sprinted in, people behind him shouting, leaning on their horns. The traffic was banked up and when he saw the emergency crews appear and start putting up road block signs, his heart sank as he realised that there was definitely an accident in the tunnel. A serious one. Tears pricked at his eyes as he ran and slipped past unnoticed as they were working on the safety lights. He felt instinctively that something was really wrong.
He kept running.
Halfway in, he heard his phone ringing and he slowed as he fumbled for it. When he saw the image of him kissing her cheek appear on the screen, his heart leapt! “Thank God”, he gasped as he answered the phone, tipping his head back and breathing a huge sigh.
“I’m sorry, but is that Mr Mathieson?” It was a man’s voice on the phone. Sirens were screaming behind him, ahead of him and in his ear as his knees crumbled out from under him and he knew.
He knew. The worst.
He straightened up and kept running towards her. “Yes, what’s happened? Is she ok? What’s happening?” He rounded the corner and saw her bright red car and could suddenly no longer hear the voice in his ear. He dropped his phone and stumbled again, but kept moving forward. He could see her. They’d pulled her from the car and placed her body (her body!) on the ground but he could see from the angles of her form… As he moved closer, he saw her eyes and his own eyes widened in panic. She seemed to be looking straight through him. With lifeless eyes.
He fell to the ground beside her, gathering her to his chest, crying out as the paramedics moved in around him, shouting at him, reaching for him.
She had been so full of life. And now here she was.
Ok, so this one brought a tear to my eye. My friend and I had one of these chats tonight as I drove to the airport and he drove to his mum’s for dinner.
It was interesting to write this from someone else’s perspective. This is for Andy’s DarkSideThursday. My first post for this event was a first-person account of her own death. I didn’t want to do first-person again, but I did want to write this with the idea that I was the person in the accident but from another perspective.
In case you were wondering, yes I am writing this on an airplane. Surprise! The things that you do when you are so tired that you can’t actually sleep. I used to be able to sleep the moment I buckled up my seatbelt, but these days the mind seems to be racing too much. I need an outlet so thank goodness for my iPhone and the Notes App. I’m probably not flying for these next two weeks so let’s see if I’m capable of writing anything without listening to the drone of the airplane!!
Note – I wrote this last Thursday in transit.