Sad Teens & Young Adult

"If he'd been with me, none of this would have happened."

Betsy didn't say the words, but they were clear enough in the air. And it was true, if Jaime had been with her, none of this would have happened. Daisy had been angry, scared, and she had been driving, and Jaime had been drunk and been in the car, and then the car was wrapped around a tree.

The weird thing is, hardly anything happened to Daisy. Her elbow ached a little -- not that she was going to mention it -- and everything felt a little cloudy, but that was it. Meanwhile, Jaime was in an operating room, getting literal brain surgery.

"It's hardly brain surgery," the little saying echoed in her head. It was such a small, little thing that managed to be so condescending Any problem you had, that you nicely shared with someone, and oh, suck it up, it's not brain surgery. Get a real problem.

Well, Daisy supposed, she had a real problem now. Good for her.

There was a large fan in the room, blowing lukewarm air around. When it pointed at her, Daisy shivered, more from the sensation than the temperature. It was an unusually warm month for the spring, which meant that every business, restaurant, and apparently hospital had the air conditioning turned on and way, way higher than it needed to be.

Jaime's father arrived not long after Betsy called him, and from the way he paced with a furrowed brow, Daisy could tell he wanted to scream at someone.

Daisy hadn't been drunk. She'd taken two breathalyzer tests and a blood test to prove that. She hadn't even really been driving recklessly, and she knew the security tapes from the road could show that. But she'd been upset, and was there much of a difference, other than what it meant to the cops? Jaime was hurt, and that was that.

The silent conversation Daisy was listening to stopped when someone actually said something out loud.

"What are they doing to him?" Jaime's father asked.

Daisy hated how they all looked at her, like she was supposed to know.

Such as it was, when they had crashed, Daisy had been neither hurt nor drunk, so she could remember everything that had happened in excellent, startling, 4K Ultra-HD clarity.

The strangest thing about the crash was how quiet it had been. The silence had been like the hush that descends when the power goes out. You don't notice the quiet humming of the refrigerator or the buzzing the light above the stove makes until they're gone, and everything is so, so quiet. When you're in a car, you're used to the nice, calm rumble of the engine, the squeaking when the tires roll over a pothole, and Daisy had also been used to the sound of her and Jaime screaming at each other, and how Daisy's breaths had been squeaky and angry and forced.

But then there's been a loud bang, and the engine and the tires went quiet, and it was like all the sound in the world had been sucked out through the atmosphere.

Daisy still remembered what her first thought had been. She'd blinked, once, twice. Then, "Why aren't we moving?" she said aloud, like God would helpfully swoop in and tell her why the car that had been traveling down the road at a steady 60 miles per hour was suddenly stopped. Then, slowly, more pieces of information started to take. Like that the windshield was shattered, and that the passenger seat was shoved into the backseat, and there was Jaime, with his eyes closed and his head oddly tilted, and dark red blood coming out of a gash on his head.

Daisy tried to say something, she thought. But it hadn't been words that had come out, just odd, strange, wounded noises. It was too bright, which was weird, because the sun was only just rising on the horizon. But it was quiet, it was bright, and Jaime looked dead.

Daisy's phone buzzed from somewhere in the car, and her watch vibrated on her wrist. But she just kept staring at Jaime, waiting for-- what was she waiting for? For him to open his eyes? For him to scream? For it to kick in that he was really, truly, dead?

Someone was outside the car, talking. Daisy tried to turn her head to the sound, but it didn't work. She didn't know what the person was saying, anyway. Their words didn't make any sense to her, and sounded like they were coming in through tinny speakers. It didn't look like there was more blood coming out of Jaime's head. Did that mean he was dead? Did dead people continue to bleed? Or did that mean he was still alive because the blood had clotted? Jesus, she should have taken a first-aid class.

More people arrived, and someone was grabbing her arms and pulling her out of the smashed car, and she took one last look at Jaime, because the next time she saw that dark hair and tanned skin and everything that made up Jaime, it wouldn't be Jaime. It would be a dead body, just an ugly, useless shell.

Except, Jaime was in a surgery room. Which wasn't something that happened when a person was dead. So, logically, he was alive. He had to be, right? If Daisy's mother was around, she knew she would be shaking, trying to ask her mother for reassurance, in a way that she was absolutely not trying to be annoying, because her mother hated her being annoying, and everyone hated when you asked questions to try to be reassured. It's not like she ever was, anyway. When it was something Daisy was really worried about, her mother wasn't enough of an expert to say anything that would make her feel better.

There were only a few people in the world right now who could make her feel better. And they were all medical professionals who weren't anywhere near her.

Everyone was still looking at her, and she realized that they were legitimately waiting for her to tell them what the doctors were doing to Jaime. If it had been a different scenario, she probably would have told them to wait while she goes to get her medical degree, then she could come back and tell them what's happening. But this was a real emergency, and Daisy didn't want to say anything. She wasn't even sure she could. She hadn't attempted to talk since she had tried speaking to Jaime in the car. Betsy and Jaime's dad had been his emergency contacts, so Daisy hadn't needed to call anyone. The paramedics had asked if she was hurt, and she'd shrugged. The cops had asked her if she was drunk, and she shook her head. Of course, the paramedics had investigated her, and the cops had tested her, anyway. So, even if she had spoken, it wouldn't have made a difference.

So, instead, she shrugged. And she, like everyone else, hated that.

The sound of knives cutting through flesh, of tools drilling into skulls, of saws to chisel bone flowed through Daisy's ears. She saw blood: blood on her hands, in her mouth. She saw the blood that flowed through her veins, from her fingertips to her toes to her brain. There was a scar on Jaime's lip, an old soccer injury. It made his smile look crooked, unique. The scar was gone now, Daisy thought, too covered with new injuries. She'd never see that scar again. Daisy's phone buzzed somewhere in the room. 

April 22, 2023 03:28

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