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Edit: An Accidental Life

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The bumper he was following ahead suddenly stopped and he slammed on the brakes. In the rearview mirror, he watched as a red streak narrowed the distance. He turned to Candice and said, “I’m sorry,.just as it hit. She lunged forward in a violent snap. His head cracked on the dash as bits of metal flew by himHe saw bits of metal fly past his head, which landed on the dash with a crack.

The image froze and he watched the wreck from above. He saw all of the angles. He saw his BMW stop and the Mustang behind coming faster. He marveled at how the BMW’s trunk rolled up. The Mustang hit violently and its hood bounced over its top. He watched it again from the front mirror. He saw the red hood coming at him. coming up fast.  He looked down over at Candice. She lunged forward in slow motion. He wondered if she was okay.

He rolled the images back and repeated the accident. He was about to start a replay the accident again when he heard the voice.

“The Mustang failed to stop?.” the voice asked said.

Yes, he thought. It just came up behind them fast. He watched it again hit the back of his car. The trunk rolled up again and he froze the scene. He could see Candice’s head stopped in mid-lunge. lurching forward. He reversed the accident until Candice was sitting upright and smiling. He looked at her face. She was calm.

“I didn’t see it. I just felt a large bump.” Candice said of the accident. rubbed her forehead.

Yes, it did happen too fast.

He tried to add voice his thoughts. His lips failed to create a sound. All he heard was an He only heard an escape of air.

Instead he listened. She remembered from the front seat a moment before the accident.

“He reached over to hold me back.”

As the car slammed from behind, he reached over and tried to hold her in her seat. The His effort failed. to stop her from hitting the dashboard.

“He said, “I’m sorry.and then it hit.”

He was truly considered. sorry. If he had swerved out of his lane? Got out of the way?

It happened too fast. Frustration escaped his lips as a pinched breath. passed his lips.

He rewound the accident once more. There was no escape. He thought about missed opportunities and abandoned dreams.

He mulled a perfect drive. The road ribboned out before him and the ocean sprayed on his left. He looked over at Candice. She looked away out the window off into a field of sunflowers. She slowly spun around and hHe followed her gaze to a young girl smiling from the back seat of a minivan. She held a balloon and a small bear. Candice smiled back.

His breathing rushed as the girl flinched. Flying above the accident, the back of the BMW crumpled.

“A little girl would cement anchor us,” said Candice.

He stared over at the girl and her the little fingers holding the balloon string. Little Long curls framed her face and her smile seemed to hide a secret. He wondered what it could be about?.

“A little girl with golden curls and a infectious laugh,” she said. “With his same sense of humor.”

Candice saw only the steps in  front of her. She missed the big picture. He had a habit of pointing out the obvious and waiting for her to catch up. He saw the future. She was good at the day-to-day.

I was trying to show the couple had a hectic life. In retrospect, it seemed out of place.

“You said we’re not ready for children,” he thought. Neither had enough money and their jobs took so much effort. At the end of the day, he took her word for it.

He went back to the moment before the crash. He looked over at the little girl again. She smiled and held out her balloon. He grabbed the string and he was transported to floated over to a park. The child ran across the grass and into Candice’s arms. He sank down to the grass.

He felt joy.

Dark clouds rushed in and he felt anxious. Now the child was wailing with a skinned knee.

He felt pity.

He moved the hair out of her eyes and stopped the tears. She looked up and seemed to be reading his soul. In that moment she was very wise.

What is your name?

He carefully wiped away a the tears in her eye. He tried to avoid smearing her makeup. He adjusted her veil and smoothed down his coat. He took her arm and they started down the aisle.

A little girl would change him.

He was unable to relax. He shuddered and tried to breathe in. He Only got a small bit of air filled his lungs.

He looked down at the accident again. Oil and transmission fluid pooled under the BMW and flowed toward the shoulder. The Mustang was wedged into its back seat. Strange? The hood is missing. Smoke and flames rolled over the engine. Candice fell down onto the pavement and two firemen helped her up.

He could feel heat the sun off the dash. It warmed his cheek and soothed his sore eye. He focused on the heat. He could see a warm orange light. He focused on the whitest part and looked deeper into it. The warmth helped him relax. He sighed and let out a small breath.

Candice sat in the back of an the ambulance. She felt the gauze covering her bleeding forehead. She looked over at the wreck. The red hood front of the Mustang was crumpled into the back of the BMW. She reached out her hand and grabbed at reached for the air car. She stretched toward Tom and failed to reach touch him.

He floated up until the accident was just a slowly became a speck. He looked out over the valley. He passed the clouds and the where the air became thinner. He struggled to take a breath. He sucked in and nothing seemed to passed his lips. He saw the little girl and Candice standing in the light. He focused on Candice’s eyes. He moved closer to her them. The light entered her left eye and he followed after it into the until there was nothing but dark.

© 2016, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.


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1 thought on “Edit: An Accidental Life”

  1. I truly enjoyed this story, Michael. I thought I would find the edits distracting but quickly realized their purpose. I think they reflected the uncertainty and unpredictableness of our lives. We may plan (or dream) to take a particular path, but our (and other’s) choices change things along the way.

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