As I edged the red truck out the driveway, I noticed that Sally, our Dalmatian, was chasing after me. So I put the car in neutral, and opened the door for her. I also noticed the dark clouds that quietly shuffled across the sky towards where I planned to go.
Sally watched me warily, like she knew that I wasn’t in the mood for anything, through her dark brown eyes as I strapped her in, before she stuck her head out the rolled-down window and let her tongue hang. I let myself smile a bit at this, but it didn’t fall through. Only a ghost of a smile tugging the edges of my lips.
The bills had come in today. I remember picking up the little stack of letters from the mailbox and doing the shot game while opening them.
Anything over $50, drink. Anything over a $100, double shot.
I had gone through half the bottle and the stack of letters when my fingers brushed the bulky hospital letter. I traced the logo of the hospital, raised my face to the heavens in a quiet prayer before I opened it. My eyes flew over the words and I rubbed my hand over my face when I dropped it on my thigh.
On one hand, No bills there, but they were cutting Jeanette off the life support machine and moving her to a nursing home and they needed my signature. I shivered, a chill running up my spine.
I had heard about nursing homes, where people would stay unconscious until their dying day. I pushed off the sofa and took a long swig out of the whisky bottle, leaned my head against the screen mesh of the kitchen door.
Laughter bubbled in from outside and I thought of my twin girls, Chloe and Marionette, spitting images of their mother, pumping their tiny legs at the swings to take them higher.
“I caused this” I spoke into the air in front of me. Sally had turned to me with sad eyes, as if she understood.
The truck ate up the roads quickly and the mountain range was approaching soI slowed the car, my eyes searching the sky for any flicker of hope, but the sunset had transformed the sky into hues of Cotton candy.
My heart went out to them,my little girls; but they knew what had happened and spoke little of their mother. After the accident, they never left her side, and i didnt know how to be a mom and a dad. So most mornings after the accident consisted mostly of me crying as I struggled to balance our roles and take care of them. They understood and this made them grow and mature beyond their age.
The truck slowed to a halt and Sally bounded out of its window as soon as I unstrapped her. I watched as she shot into the foliage surrounding the mountains, she knew the place well and had gone in pursuit of the rabbits. I walked a good distance behind her slowly, my hands in my pockets, the tears streaming down my face.
I found our spot under a silk rose bush and lay on my back, my hands underneath my head and I recalled the night.
It was my fault. I had insisted that we’d go wake boarding that day, we dropped the girls off at a friends and stopped by a grocery shop to get drinks. All was fine until we were on our way home and the car ran out of gas, it had begun to rain when I pulled up at the station, my boots were slick, halfway home and out of nowhere this trailer rams into us.
I remember scrambling for the brakes but my wet rubber soles kept slipping off the pedals. Jeanette was unusually calm.
I woke up on the beach, flung out the windscreen of the sedan, with several head injuries. Jeanette lay peaceful and untouched in the car.
Peaceful she has been for two years now. Her breath steady and her heart rate just fine. But asleep.
Almost dead, but not quite.
I lay there and wept.
For my love
For my daughters
For my lover
Till Sally joined me
And her wails drowned out my cries.