- Cali Sullivan
A palette of orange and pink painted across the sky that evening. Comforting warm air enveloped the scene, though they remained still in the stiffness of the atmosphere. Mangled flesh, broken glass, her lover incubated underneath the skeleton of the vehicle. His torn skin stained the sheets on the gurney as he was stuffed into an ambulance for his final breath. The red and blue lights that blinded her eyes and sirens that rung in her ears still linger in her head. She winces, knuckles white from grasping the steering wheel too hard, trying to avoid sight of the area as she commutes in the months following. Nothing more remained of him than a few flowers and an old, water-damaged photo taped to the brown wooden pole. Loss of his velvet soft skin, of his mint car fresheners, of his stained college sweatshirt, and mop of greasy brown locks. An entire essence diminished to nothing more than wilted flowers and a dented side rail. She holds her breath as she passes, grief held in her lungs. His high school junior photo engulfed in carnations; his still eyes slicing her skin as she attempts to apathetically drive home. She knows he wouldn’t enjoy his gravestone displayed on the side of a highway, a mediocre memorial of a night that got too carried away. Selfishly, she keeps the painful attribute to make sure she doesn’t grow numb.