A prose poem about someone I will never meet
| In about two seconds, a drunk driver in a grey sedan will run the light at the intersection of 12th Street and Clark Ave., in exactly the same moment a young lady will have chosen to cross the street. Neither one will see the other coming. He’ll hit her before he can even think to swerve, before his foot can even start to fumble for the brake. The girl, she’ll be dead on impact: they’ll say she never stood a chance, that she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time…
Poor kid- couldn’t be more than fifteen years old, and now she never will be. She won’t get to go to her senior prom, she’ll never go to college, she’ll never get married or have kids or any of that. I wonder if she’s ever been in love. I wonder if she’s ever seen the world. I wonder if she ever even thought about death. I wonder if she’s happy, or if she was.
They’ll say she was taken way before her time, that girls that young are never supposed to just stop living. Well, if it’s not the girl’s time, then why is she about to die?
Still, who knows what she could’ve done someday, or who she could’ve been? She could’ve been the first female president. She could’ve been the one who cured cancer, or AIDS, or war, or some other problem that the world won’t face until long after she’ll be gone.
Or she could’ve been a hooker someday. Only time could’ve told, but now the chance is lost. And now we’ve lost her, the girl and her potential…
But right now, that girl is someone’s daughter. She is someone’s sister, someone’s best friend, something more to so many someones than they make coffins big enough for holding. And still, soon she won’t be anything anymore. Soon, she won’t exist in the present tense. She’ll begin to was, she’ll start to have been and used to, and everyone who loves her will lose her to the present tense.
I wonder if we’d have been friends, if I’d known her, if I knew anything more about her than here and now- anything more than blonde hair, a blue coat and a green backpack barely seen from this seventh-story window.
I wonder what would’ve happened if we’d met. What would we have talked about? What could she have taught me? Would she have “gotten” me? Would I have gotten “her”? Would we have shared our deepest secrets, or only an awkward glance? What will I end up missing from missing out on this girl, this perfect stranger who I won’t, who I can’t miss? Well, if I never meet her, then I guess I’ll never know.
So, girl I’ve only now become aware of, whose name I’ll never know, I guess this is goodbye (and before any exchange whatsoever). I’m sorry that our paths never crossed, I’m sorry that I can’t miss you, and I’m sorry that this wrong place was yours. I wish it were different, I swear I do. But here you are, for two more seconds. And here’s to you, for everything after…