Lineal

by Missy Jean

Time is a frustrating thing. All you get is the present. Can’t go forward, can’t go back. It’s stubbornly lineal. “Say that ten times fast.” That’s what my sister would have told me, had she heard me say it.

The longer I sat and stared at her, the more I wanted to put her back together, to fix her. But I couldn’t. I still can’t.

This is journal entry #1. The counselor said it would help. She told me to do this weeks ago. I didn’t want to then. I don’t want to now. But I guess I need help, so here it goes… I feel like I’m talking to myself. How is this supposed to help? “Just get the stuff out of you. Use it to organize your thoughts and your feelings.” Sayeth the counselor.

It’s been 8 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, and 2 hours since the accident. This might be cliché, but it really does feel like it was yesterday. Will that ever stop? Will I ever gain distance between now and then?

Sheesh, I could write a book of just questions.

Mom and Dad came over for lunch today. They only had the two of us, a year and a half apart. We moved out one right after the other. It’s been 9 years, but I think the empty house is still hard on them. I can’t imagine what they feel now. I had one more box of her things I needed to get rid of. The box included her iPad, I had an I.T friend wipe it clean. It also contained her iPod, which was really hard to let go of. I decided against keeping it, I was beginning to drown in a sea of musical sorrow. I had it wiped clean too. And I still had some of her clothes to get rid of. Hopefully, the last of the clothes. I keep finding things of hers. She was like that, she would shed layers every time she came over. A jacket there, a hoodie here, a beanie found in the couch cushions. After lunch, we took the box to the thrift store together. The one that’s two hours away. We can’t risk seeing someone with her things, and I can’t bring myself to throw any of it away. So off we went.

She had her own apartment, but she hung out here all the time. We talked all the time. We laughed all the time. Cried all the time. What am I gonna do with all this time?

My husband has tried to console me. To comfort me. I’m thankful for him. He wishes he could have been there instead of me. Probably because he’d be less of a mess. He’s always been better at these kinds of things. He’s been a cop for 3 years now in Camden, New Jersey. He’s seen more than I ever will, until now.

We were headed home from the grocery store. Listening to The Clash, “Should I stay or should I go now.” It never got old, not for us. Then the truck came, around the bend. Sliding into our lane at the last minute. “Head-on collision,” that’s what the officer called it. The one that questioned me while the paramedics checked me over. I was okay, bumps and bruises. I had my seat belt on. She didn’t. She took it off for one moment, to grab the CD out of the back seat. The one we just had to listen to. She planned to put her seat belt back on but hadn’t gotten to it yet.

The driver of the truck called 911 while I sat in the road, holding her hand. Staring at her body. A mangled mesh of road rash, cuts, and broken bones. I wanted to put her back together. To fix her. To fix it. Like Humpty Dumpty, ya know? Why are we so hard to fix? A broken bone takes weeks, sometimes months, to mend. A broken heart can take years before it heals, if it ever does. Why are we so fragile?

One mistake and everything breaks.

I can’t remember how I got from the car to her body. Her eyes were open. I don’t mean a little open, I mean wide open. Her mouth was open to. I wanted to close it all up. Make it peaceful. But I was scared. Is it like the movies? If I had closed them for her, would they have stayed shut? I didn’t want to find out the hard way. So I grabbed her hand, I held it, and I stared at her eyes.

We grew up close. Close in age and relationship. Sometimes, we weren’t so close, but only sometimes. She knows everything about me. She shares almost all my memories. No one will ever know me like she does. I’ll never know anyone like I know her. Not even my husband. What do I do about that?

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross. I believe he could have stopped the absent-minded driver that slammed into the front end of my car. I believe he could have given me the urge to stop for a bathroom, we could have missed the whole thing altogether. He could have made the accident less severe. He could have stopped my sister from flying through the windshield. He could have stopped me from watching it.

But he didn’t.

I read all the verses I know on suffering this morning. I read all the ones I know on evil the day before. I read all the ones about the goodness of God the day before that. I guess it helps. His ways are higher than my ways. I’m okay with that. But… it’s still frustrating. It still makes me mad. I hate it.

I do believe that he has fixed her, he’s put her back together. One day I’ll see that. And… I found out I’m pregnant this evening. Funny how that happens. All you get is the present. 


Missy Jean is an aspiring writer; this is her first publication. She currently works for the National Guard in a civilian Budget Analyst position. She lives in Utah with her mini labradoodle. In her free time, she writes, because it is her passion.

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