Jessica Leigh, Grade 11
At first, all I see is blackness. Then, it’s like someone has hit rewind, and my last moments are being played out again, backwards.
My head pulls back through the windscreen. The glass smooths back into place. The car flips back onto four wheels and rotates back into the centre of the road. The drunk driver’s headlights recede, and I look over at my passenger.
Her green eyes, her short blonde hair, her smile, filled with kindness… it can only be Cath. She’s speaking, but in reverse, her mouth swallowing up her words, garbling them beyond recognition.
The scene slows down, stops, and then plays through. We’re driving on a winding back road, maybe a little over the speed limit, but I couldn’t care less. I’m with Cath, and everything is perfect.
Perfect. So unlike all the other aspects of my life.
“Dylan, I know that it’s a phenomenal effort for you not to be constantly staring at me,” Cath says playfully, “but maybe you should concentrate on the road.”
I obediently turn back to the road, and the most perfect scene transforms horribly. A drunk driver careens into my path and I swerve. The car spins, flips, and I go through the windscreen. Everything goes black again.
I don’t know what happened to Cath.
One month. I heard them say that I’ve been like this for one month.
I try to open my eyes. I try to lift a finger. I try to speak, to scream, but nothing happens. I am trapped. My own body is my prison.
“Poor kid,” I hear one person say. “Doesn’t get many visitors, does he?”
No visitors. It stings to hear them say that. I can understand my step-mother and her kids not coming. They don’t really consider me family anyway. But my own father, not come to visit his eldest son? I guess I really am his biggest disappointment.
I block out painful thoughts of my father.
I wonder what happened to Cath.
Someone is speaking nearby. I strain my ears to listen.
“I heard that the father called. They’re going to turn off his life support in a few hours.”
“Poor kid,” someone replies. They continue to speak, but I stop listening. I'm too busy trying to move, to speak, to scream.
They were talking about me. My father is going to turn off my life support. He is going to cut his good-for-nothing son out of his life for good.
I’m alive! I try to scream. I’m still alive!
It’s no use. My lips don’t even twitch.
I will die, and I will not know what happened to Cath.
This is it. My father has arrived.
He grasps my hand, and I feel a shudder go through him. Anguish? Disgust? Guilt? I’ll never know. He awkwardly pats my forehead before moving away. “Do it,” he says with a quivering voice.
The flick of a switch, followed by a continuous beep. My heart has stopped.
My dark vision fades into white.
And I find Cath.