CW: car crash, mentions of blood, swearing
// A short fictional piece in the style of Dorothy L. Sayers’s ‘Suspicion’ (1939). //
She stared out the window at the passing landscape. I’m not the only one by Sam Smith was playing softly in the background. The darkness of the car and the gentle sounds of the wheels on the street tried to lull her back to sleep. Sighing deeply, she looked to her left. Rick sat casually in his seat, cool and in control of the car. Light would occasionally reflect of his wedding band. Marian looked behind her towards the backseat. There, without a seemingly worry in the world, slept her younger sister. The peaceful atmosphere of the car was betrayed by the underlining tension radiating from the couple.
“Rick, I …”, but before Marian could finish the sentence, her head was violently pushed towards the passenger door.
Bright light. Screeching noises. Wild honking and screams. “Fucking hell!”, Rick howled. The last thing she registered was the fast-approaching tree line and then blissful darkness.
Rustling. Blurry figures moving around.
This incessant noise would not stop! With a groan, Marian moved her head to the right. There, on the table, she could make out pink lilies. … Rick had not bought her favourite flowers in quite a long time.
During the next hours, she fully regained consciousness and was told by a nurse that no one had gotten hurt. To her left, she could just make out her husband and sister under all those bandages and IV-infusions. She tried not to dwell on them laying beside each other. She wanted to get more rest when the machines connected to Rick and Abigail changed their tune. All of a sudden, the hospital room became a flurry of activity with doctors and nurses shouting at each other. Marian saw blood coming out of Rick’s eyes and both he and Abigail were rushed towards the operation room.
With a jerk, Marian opened her eyes. Panicked, she tried to get up to get to Rick and her sister, but her body wouldn’t move. “No, no!”, she cried.
“Oh, thank the Lord! Hush sweetheart. I am here”.
“Mom? … Mom, where have they taken them? I have to get up. I have to be by his side! Mom, there was so much blood. Blood coming out of his eyes. … Why can’t I move my body?”, she sobbed uncontrollably.
Afterwards, Marian learned that she had been in a coma for nearly a year. With unmoving stillness, she listened to her mother recount tearfully the past events: Rick’s suspicions about her having an affair, Abigail giving him a sisterly hug of support, Marian storming out and being alone during the crash. And Rick filing eventually for divorce.
Alone in the hospital room, Marian stared out at the sunset, contemplating the mess she had created and the hurt she had inflicted on those she loved. On the table beside her stood a vase with wilting pink lilies. At the foot of the vase lay her wedding ring, which no longer fit onto her finger, illuminated by the sun set.
Image courtesy of Christelle Hayek