“Have you ever experienced Death? First hand, I mean. Well, not first hand...but-"
The psychiatrist, Dr. Laurent, shifted in her seat while gazing directly into Margie’s eyes – as if to gauge her reaction to the question.
“Yes,” Margie interrupted, returning Dr. Laurent’s stare, nodding, before her eyes glazed over as she found her words.
“I was driving home from work at the Radio station. It was probably 1990 or 1991. I lived with my mother and my son, and was anxious to get home and change for my Improv show that night.
Margie sighed and closed her eyes as she recalled the details.
“I was driving down the freeway when I noticed a compact car careen off the exit ramp on the other side of the freeway. She had averted a car that cut her off, when she jumped the median into my lane, driving toward me head on.
It all happened in slow motion. I lifted my foot off the gas and looked around to see if anyone else was paying attention. This was during rush hour traffic. There was a woman in the next lane over, who, apparently, was not paying attention. She signaled and moved into my lane ahead of me – about 50 yards or so – hit the compact vehicle as it was swerving to avoid traffic.
The compact rolled, back and forth… and the minivan spun into a 360 while the other cars ahead of me tried to avoid them.
I had my foot on the brake the whole time I was watching this, and came to a rolling stop right in front of the compact car. It had rolled right in front of me. There were two girls inside.
After that things sped up.
I quickly got out of my car and ran to the accident. Both sides of the car were missing, from the roll – it just tore the doors right off. I saw that the girls were both teenagers, the driver was moving, still belted in, but hanging out the driver’s side opening.
And her passenger, I ran around to the other side, she was laying the full length of the vehicle, her long legs extended over the bucket seat that was laying flat. Her doe eyes were looking up into the rear window, and I saw her blink.
Blood was dripping from her ears, and I saw her take a deep breath – then exhale with a gasp.
I moved up into the rear window and checked her pulse, nothing. I grasped both sides of her head as I tried to move her to perform mouth to mouth, when someone from behind grabbed me and pulled me out of the vehicle. It was a nurse from the clinic that sat at the side of the freeway.
She pressed her finger against my mouth and shook her head slowly before showing me the reason. The girl’s skull had been shattered against the rear window, blood and tufts of hair hanging from the windshield evidence of it.
I had watched the girl take her last breath.”
Margie looked up at Dr. Laurent and blinked, her eyes dry from staring as she retold the story.
“How did that make you feel?” Laurent stumbled on her words as she realized the cliché’d expression might fall flat on Margie’s ears, authenticated by Margie’s incredulous stare as she looked up from her notes.
“I gave details to the police officer that came on site, went home and told my mother, who was on the phone with a friend that she hadn’t talked to in some time. I remember walking in, my hands bloody from holding the girl’s head – my mother’s eyes widening as she watched me wash them in sink in front of her.
When I began to cry, she didn’t get off the phone – she carried on a conversation with me, retelling everything I said to her friend on the phone.
It just didn’t make any sense. Later, I overheard her telling someone that the girls in the accident were in high school, out for their class career day.”
Dr. Laurent nodded, closing her note book and leaning in toward Margie. “I can imagine your relationship would be quite strained after that.”
“Our relationship was always strained.
Margie went on to relay the rest of that evening: the ultimatum of keeping a spot on the Improv team; then trying to perform when the only themes she could muster throughout the night were about the Grim Reaper, bloody sponges and deer taxidermy.
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