BY REBECCA LEONARD
The snow is getting heavier. Although the sun shines, the snow continues to swirl down in great flurries over the little town, filling foot shaped imprints. People, although warned to stay inside, bustle about in their small, insignificant two- wheel drive cars. Children play out in the snow, their cheeks a bright pink as the crisp, cold air nips at exposed skin like a puppy playing roughly. The world seems peaceful and bright until...
Tall and white the snow looms above my head. The tiny ice crystals, shining in the sunlight, drift slowly around from the impact and land gently on the windshield. I seem to have ended up in a colossal snow bank. Late for work and driving too fast, the wheels of my car turned on to the on-ramp. Naturally, the road is badly plowed with tire treads zigzagging from others' carelessness. I realize there is no hope for my rundown white dodge, quickly my instincts tell me not to get on the highway. First mistake. The steering wheel rose to life and took on a mind of its own. The brakes refused to stop the car. Bracing for impact, flashes of horrendous images play behind my eyes.
The sign inside the mound of white fluffiness stands proudly almost as if to mock me. As I look up at the green reflective paint of the guide sign, a loud sigh escapes from my lungs. The warmth of inside the car is comforting. It holds me in my seat as I relax from the sudden adrenaline rush. Blue flashing lights appear in the rearview mirror. A man in a dark uniform approaches the window to ask if I am okay. His approach is slow as his hand glides over the top of my car. As I look up at him he stares in disbelief and reaches quickly to his radio.
“I’m okay officer, I just lost control.” I smile up at him as if to reassure him I’m okay, but he doesn’t seem to listen.
He walks quickly back to the flashing blue lights and all I can think of is that he’s writing me a ticket. It’s not my fault the roads are this bad, write the town a ticket! As my anger and nerves grow, I see more vehicles with flashing lights appear. These ones are red and there are sirens. The man in the dark uniform rushes more men over to the car.
“W-what’s going on?” I ask, “I’m okay! Really!” Again, they don’t hear me.
“Bring the brace and the stretcher over, she’s not moving!”
The men in the uniform open the door and bring over a back brace for the unconscious girl in the front seat. They gently move her body out and onto the four-wheel stretcher. I watch as my body is wheeled over to the ambulance. It takes too long for what is going on to sink in. That’s my body, but I’m right here. I’m okay.
But I wasn’t okay. I follow my body to the back of the ambulance, lights still flashing. They seem brighter than usual, but they don’t hurt my eyes. I laugh to myself because I realize that they couldn’t hurt my eyes, because I’m not me. I’m a ghost, or something like it. I can hear them saying that I’m not dead yet. I watch them do everything I had ever read about or seen on TV. After what seems like hours of chest compressions, I watch the anguish in the EMT’s eyes as they started to give up hope.
Then all at once, I take a deep breath, and so does my body. I can feel the blood pumping through my veins like water breaking through a dam and my heartbeat beating fast than it ever had before. I shut my eyes tight and with another gasp of air I opened them again. I was looking up into the eyes of one of the EMT’s. So much pain. My face. My head. My chest.
In an instant I fall back asleep. This time, I don’t wake up. No amount of chest compressions, or shock paddles can help me. I drift slowly in and out of a place I had never before seen. I feel so calm and I don’t hurt anymore. I can literally see my life flashing before my eyes.
And then, all is black.