It’s a haze. The cars look so tiny from above. They are barely moving. There are people walking. For some, there is nothing unusual today. That’s the thing that’s been happening our whole lives, right? We wake up every single day to do the things we did yesterday.
It’s a routine and it’s very lethal. We wake up knowing and not knowing. We wake up thinking that every day is just a normal day until it isn’t. Sometimes, life surprises us. It surprised me.
Exactly One Year Ago.
I walked to the kitchen still feeling a little groggy. I ate my breakfast, took a shower, and drove to work. I ate my lunch, fixed my makeup, did my job, and laughed with friends. Still nothing unusual.
Work is over. I went on to the parking lot to get my car. I remembered that I forgot something so I went back up to the office and took what I needed. The elevator took longer than usual. It must be because work hours are over and everyone is just rushing to get back home. Inside the elevator it’s a little cramped up.
I walked back to my car, opened the door, and started the engine. On my way home, I saw my favourite bakeshop so I stopped the car and bought some cupcakes. I started driving again. My favourite song was playing in the background and I was singing along. It’s a good day. I managed to present our project really well and I had good food plus I was able to buy my favourite cupcakes.
Life sure is good. My phone started ringing and just as took my phone and looked at it, I was pushed forward by a sudden force. I immediately hit the brakes but it was too late. I hit something. In my panic I quickly unbuckled my seatbelt and went straight out. No. No. No. I put a hand to my mouth. I couldn’t believe it.
I hit a motorcycle. There lies on the floor a man, a woman, and a child. How? Why?
Everything was a blur. I couldn’t focus on anything. My mind was racing. I didn’t hear the ambulance siren. Or the people that had started to crowd around the scene. I couldn’t hear the policemen who were trying to talk to me. I couldn’t hear anything but my own mind asking what was happening.
A month after the incident.
They were a family. The father and the mother didn’t make it. The child did although it wasn’t an easy operation. The impact killed the child’s parents on the scene. I killed two people. No, I killed three. I killed a family. I killed a child’s chance of growing up with his parents. I killed a child’s innocence. A child’s chance to a happy life. And I got away with it.
I paid for the parents’ funeral and I paid for all of the child’s hospital bill including some money so he wouldn’t be left to his relatives with nothing to eat.
They didn’t punish me. They didn’t keep me behind bars. I should’ve paid for my sin. I should’ve paid for my mistake. I shouldn’t be allowed to walk the face of the Earth freely. I deserve to die the way that the man and the woman died.
Today is exactly a year from the incident. I haven’t been tucked ever since. I never got a good night’s sleep. Because how? How do you live with yourself after that? How do you live with yourself knowing that you killed a person? I never got the answer. It’s fifteen floors up. I looked up at the sky and recounted that day again the way that I did every night. I thought that maybe if I didn’t have to run back to the office to get something, if the elevator didn’t take so long, if I didn’t stop at my favourite bakeshop, and if my phone hadn’t rung, maybe it never would’ve happened. But there’s no point in regretting now, is there?
I remembered I was wearing a yellow dress. It was my favourite dress. It looked exactly like the one that I loved so much when I was a kid. I chuckled when I realized that I loved that dress because it made me feel happy. As if I was wearing happiness itself. Yellow always made me feel happy. It made me feel lighter. I never wore that dress again. At least not until today.
I closed my eyes and I could feel my cheeks starting to get wet. I smiled.
I opened my eyes and looked down again. I took one little step forward and I could feel the gravity trying to pull me. Today, I set myself free.