Crash.

A split second is enough to change a destiny.
A split second is enough to take lives.
A split second can last for eons as the world falls into slow motion.

In a split second…

Blue minivan.
Eyes widen.
Cell phone, with the unfinished text message, flies from my hand.
The harsh sound of metal on metal.
The glass in front of me spiderwebs… and shatters.
My eyes shut tight.
Face peppered with dots of pain.

…I think I'm screaming, but I can't quite tell.
I can't really hear anything.
I'm surrounded by metal and screeching and dull, matted silence.

We've stopped, I think. I can't quite tell.
I look over at her… she returns my gaze. Thank God.

The sound of braking, squealing tires.
Shit.

I love you, say the words on her lips, before she squeezes her eyes shut and we're thrust back into hell.
Rolling and tossing, side to side like dolls.
Crack.

Stopped again.

"Oh my God. Someone call an ambulance, now. Oh God, oh my God…"
There's a voice there, I think, but the words make no sense.

Dare I look?
I shouldn't have.

Blood everywhere.
Trapped by the seatbelt.
Such an unnatural angle of her neck…

And those eyes.
Open.
Glazed.
Empty.

No, no, no…

Blood rush to the head.
I can't see, I can't think.
I'm screaming again.

Screeching metal as they pry the door open.
I scream louder.
Not that sound, that sound of terror, of death…

"Honey, we're going to get you out of here."
The words mean nothing.
They can't help me. They can't get me out of this one.

"Can you breathe?"
Yes, yes I can, but she can't! I'm fine! Worry for her!

"Don't move, sweetheart."
I want to kick and thrash but my limbs won't move.

I hear myself pleading let me stay, let me stay with her…

Strapped to a board.
Oxygen mask in my face.
I hate the substance that pulses through my lungs, saving my life but unable to save hers.
Every clear breath I take is one that she won't get to.

I can't do anything but cry quietly.

I can only hear one thing clearly.

In the distance
From the blue minivan
A child says
"Mommy… Daddy… wake up…"