The noise of the crash woke me from a dead sleep. I lay still, eyes glued shut but my mind jolted to awareness, listening for the next sound.
I’d lived here long enough to know how bad the corner is, especially late on a weekend night when people who should not be driving are trying to get home. I’d been the first responder more times than I’d like to think about. Calling 911, rushing across the street to the scene. Most times the car was totaled, wrapped around the pole, off in the trees, whatever, but thankfully the occupants only damaged. But sometimes bodies, because I couldn’t imagine people still being trapped in them, strewn across the road, or mangled in the heaps of metal.
In the seconds after the noise woke me, every crash I’d witnessed the aftermath of flashed through my mind. I would always speculate for days as to how it happened. Too fast, distracted, too drunk, maybe trying to avoid something in the road, or two cars both thinking they were in the right. I’d peruse the news for details but they were always sketchy, stories to “warn” the general public to be more careful, but written so as not to exploit the grief of the families left behind. I understood, but having been there, I still wanted to know.
As I lay there a light shined in my eye. Suddenly there seemed to be noise everywhere. The light left, but I still couldn’t see, then abruptly, I could see everything. I was looking down at the scene, the police and ambulance had arrived. The car was totaled, a body had been stretched out on the ground. A body that left the bar too drunk to be driving, but so sure that I could make it.