Despite my mother’s wishes, I slept terribly. Twisting, shaking, panting, and jerking in my sleep. The covers were tossed aside and lay at the foot of my bed in a helpless heap. But no matter what I tried – sleeping with both legs under the covers, both legs out from under the covers, sleeping with one foot under and one outside, on my back, on my stomach, on my side – nothing gave me a ticket to the black oblivion of dreams that I wanted.
It must have been past midnight when I finally escaped to the world of unconsciousness.
But I was restless there too.
I was sitting in my car with my hands hovering on the wheel when suddenly, a flash of white blazed through my vision. I turned towards it, hoping to get a glimpse of the light source.
It slammed into me and threw me against the passenger side of my car. Blood is everywhere. My head hurts, more than I could ever imagine. It hurts so badly. Make it stop, I begged. Matt, please make it stop.
And then I started to cry out. Hot tears mixed with blood as they ran down my cheeks.
“Matt!” I screamed. Could anyone hear me? “Matt, help me! Matt, please! Please help me! Matt.”
But no one came. And I was left there, with the tears and the pain and the fierce light.
Back in my bed, I felt my throat tighten. Was the accident? Was that my accident? Of course it was. I didn’t need to ask. That was the accident that plunked me in the hospital for five months and cost me my memories.
I got up from my bed quickly and pulled a hoodie over my head. I slipped into my jeans next. I really shouldn’t be making my midnight trips a habit, first with Ryan and now tonight, but I just felt like I needed to leave my room. It felt too connected to my suffering. I was afraid that if I stayed in here, in bed, I might fall asleep and have to experience it again.
I don’t think I could go through that a second time in one night.
So I tiptoed to the front door and slipped out as quietly as I could, hoping that the door and the floorboards didn’t give me away. I locked the door behind me and walked down my dark front lawn.
Shadows caressed the grass and slid across the pavement. Maybe I should turn back around and go back home. But I couldn’t bring myself to turn back to the only place that I had to relive my car accident in. I knew it was only my imagination, but I could’ve sworn that when I woke up, the room smelled of burnt rubber and smoke.
I continued down the path and to the street. I turned left and headed down our gated community. Of course everyone who lived here had enough money to pay for fifty children to go to college. Would I go to college? I wouldn’t if I ended high school with the same grades and attendance records as I had now. But maybe they would accept me under special conditions. Did I even really want to go to college? I don’t think I really wanted to be away from Ryan for the time necessary to get a degree.
Not that Ryan would be the deciding factor. Just because we kissed didn’t mean I couldn’t go to college if I wanted to. In truth, I didn’t even know if we were an item. He’d never said so. I didn’t really want to go anyway. There was no need for me to go to college. I had enough money – well, my parents had enough money. But then what would I do when I got older?
I don’t think I realized how far I walked until I was lost.
I was stopped at a four way street where I read the street signs but didn’t recognize the names. I couldn’t remember if I turned and which way I turned. Panic bubbled in my chest when I realized that I forgot my cell on my bedside table as well.
The wind threw my hairs into my face and around my shoulders as the traffic lights turned from green to red. Had I already crossed the street? Should I keep moving forward until I recognized something or turn back? I would have decided to go back the way I came from if only I knew where that was.
“Chloe!” the gusts carried the voice to my ears and I spun around.
“Chloe!” a boy repeated, “Hey.”
He was running towards me boldly, his arms swinging with the racing of my heart. He knew my name but I didn’t know him. I stood, frozen in place.
“Hi,” I squeaked. Half of my head begged me to run and the other argued for me to stay.