You return, your emotions ambush and assault. Silence curses the gloomy lifeless road. Tyre marks scar the tarseal and remind you of what has happened previously. The bruised tree stands swollen and beaten. The crisp, fresh air attempts to calm your erratic, stressed state. Analysing the situation in disgust. Struggling to understand why you were chosen to live through this crucifying guilt. Energy creates the feel of unease.
Remember, reaching for the phone to change that terrible song. The road drifting to your right, then realising the tree was closer. Remember your closest friends scream. the impact. Darkness and high pitch ringing noise. The warmth of blood covering your body. Eyes blurry. Unimaginable pain, the deep sleepy hole snatches you as prisoner. You feared you would never escape. Awoken by the screaming sound of desperate sirens. Piercing blue and red lights give you little hope in what you thought would be the end. You beat the odds. You escaped the hole.
Your eyes hurt as the pain streams out of them. Anxiety causes your head to beat you up tossing and turning on what could have been. Anger controls your whole sense of emotion as you look across at the battered tree. A simple mistake, costs you the best friend you will ever have. Forever burdening you with the stigma your actions cost another soul their life. Your brain continues to keep digging, keep attacking. Unthinkable. The things you would do to swap your life for Ben’s.
Remember the darkness, the depths of horror and the panic that the help wouldn’t make it in time. Consciousness, The jaws of life remove the door. Giving you the motivation to prove the tools name right. Hungry for survival. Fast, efficient men cause the door to fall to its knees. Sunlight smashes its way through providing hope that your existence will remain. Grateful, the stretcher, your path to survival, your path to hospital. Desperate scenarios, creates appreciation for the simplest things. Life, your alive and breathing.
Struggling, hoping another terrible flashback wont hit in your sleep. Self condemnation takes over and controls. Endless nights waking up screaming and sweating profusely. Vision. The rubber on the road triggers that endless flashback you can so vividly see in your head. Road drifting. Realisation of a mistake. Ben bracing and screaming, dark buzzy blur. Head plays games. Tired of the tormenting yet not able to escape The wish not to live has never been so present.
The sickening scent of petrol and burnt rubber fills your nostrils. Above, you can hear your ticket to safety. Good health, the helicopter is ready. Drifting consciousness slows the blades above down to snails pass.Your strapped in and your safety secured. Disaster. The happiness of survival and existence is overpowered. Helpless, empty look on the face of Ben’s medic taunts. Scream. An angry ball within you causes an authoritative order to keep trying. Adrenaline, all the power left within is sapped to help. Ben, unrecognisable, blood covering his limp, terrorised body. Disturbing, the last memory I have of my dearest friend.
10 years on that same tree remains. Vibrant and unmarked. Proof that time heals. The smell of pine fills the air. Greenery takes the edge off the gloomy atmosphere. The fading sound of cars whistles past with the wind. Similar to the tree, Ben’s family healed and forgiving stands by your side. Celebration of an incredible person. An incredible son. An incredible friend. Everyday the reoccurrence of the accident finds a way into your mind. The past eventually claws its way out. Guilt is cruel, life is unfair.
By Sam Howard