Berks County, Pennsylvania
The car hits the tree going at least forty miles an hour and I go through the windshield like I’ve been tossed gently by a hurricane. I land thirty yards away from the car on some bright green grass, barely missing the tree directly in my path.
Everything is black for a while.
When I open my eyes again all I see are these vivid green leaves floating casually above me, and I wonder for just a moment about their casual ways, trying to understand why certain parts of life just don’t care about the other parts.
And then the smell hits me.
It isn’t gentle like the leaves, but assaulting and violent. It fills my nostrils with the same metallic flavor that fills your mouth when you suck on your thumb after cutting it way too deep, when the blood is dark and black, not pinkish like a party. My head rolls back under me as my chest heaves up, toward the green leaves above me, and I turn my head to the side to throw up. Spitting into the grass and leaning up on my elbow I squeeze my eyes closed as tightly as I can, afraid of what I’m going to see when I finally have to open them. Tears leak out the sides of my eyes, hot and wet on my cheeks. The smell of my parents’ blood makes me throw up again and again until there’s nothing left and I’m just coughing and breathing hard, my small ribcage ready to break with the pressure.