As I Lay Here, Dying

by Wendy Addison

As I lay here dying, I have never seen the sky so beautiful. In fact, everything around me is a slightly brighter shade of wonderful. It is oddly laughable, to me, that the things most people never stop to see and enjoy are so obvious only in the last few moments before their life fades away. I can't help but enjoy, at this point, the vast inhumanity of my surroundings. To my left there is a, from my vantage point, infinite pasture blocked to me by a white, wooden, ranch style fence. To my right, I can only assume, is a dense wooded area. It is too dark to really make out, especially since my vision is rapidly fading anyway. I remain, as I have for what I will soon find out was the majority of three hours, laid out in the middle of a two-lane country road. Recently paved but, unfortunately for me, usually empty. This street is used for four houses, one of them my family's. It is our only connection to the main state road leading to civilization. I am the only recent licensed driver, or sixteen year old, on the street. This of course means that I, come hell or high water, will not return home until the clock has struck my curfew, much later than the street's other inhabitants' collective bed times.

So this shows my predicament. After two hours, I have settled with the fact that I will not be leaving my present position. That is, alive. I am very amused in my blood loss induced delirium, that I, a sixteen year old male, am wishing for traffic. I would give my right arm for gridlock right now. This is not usually the case, and as you can assume, the lack of traffic was the reason for my demise. I do it every night, but tonight my one hundred and ten mile per hour trek down this stretch of road was interrupted by a fucking possum. I look back on the ten second lapse of time that began when that fateful possum's eyes and mine met, how I swerved to avoid him and how that swerve caused me to ricochet off a light pole and, due to my lack of seatbelt use, fly out my back windshield. I should have just run him over. Now he's with his possum family in some tree, bunched together and I am dying, alone, on a dimly lit road.

I wonder what would have happened if this had happened on a more occupied street. What would have happened had I been saved? Would I go back to school, go to other schools, and give a widely ignored assembly speech warning about the dangers of drinking and driving? Oh, did I not mention that? Yes, I had been drinking tonight. It was Friday night and I was at a keg party. I couldn't tell you my blood alcohol content or even how many drinks I had. Drinking games tend to have their players consume random quantities of different alcohols that, after the fact, are impossible to measure.

I never thought this was the way I would go. As I feel a portion of the stinging from my tears running across my very skinned face, my attitude goes from amused to deeply depressed. Why can't I at least die in my mother's arms? Why couldn't by death be, at least in some ways, comfortable. The pain has mostly faded. I'm in shock. But the emotional anguish I'm feeling right now could have been helped. Dying alone is meant for old people and animals. Someone in my position should be alive, or at least dying of a tragic illness, surrounded by semi-prepared loved ones. I cannot cry out anymore, my throat has, for at least an hour and a half, been useless. This is due to all of the initial screaming in pain after I shook myself awake. My time is running out.

If I sound disjointed it is to be expected. Had you lost seventy five percent of your blood to a gravely street, you too would be a bit scatter brained. I can't really concentrate anymore. My dim vision is now completely blurred; I see only the white blobs in the starry sky above me. They look so bright, and they even seem to moving closer. Or perhaps, it is I that moves toward them. As I look down at my ridiculously sprawled out body, I realize that you, my friend, will be the last and only to hear my goodbye. I hope you have appreciated it. There are many who want, but will not get, the courtesy.

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