So White and So Pale

She burst just ghostly and that was the last thing she ever did. Her last breath rose above her and dissipated into the cold midnight ink. I sat there cradling her body, most of it anyways. She sorta stopped halfway down and trailed off into bloody strands. I was looking into her eyes, I was the last thing she saw. What I would give not to see that special breed of loneliness and fear.

He had come barreling through in a panel truck. Without common sense to act as a compass, he was blind and apathetic to anything in his path. He splashed me and I vowed petty, impotent, vengeance. She had sprained her left leg, the coroner told me. She saw it coming, she must have and I just had to hear her scream. Then I hear the scream crumble as the truck runs over her twice, the weight breaks her.

Her name was Tina Bowden. Her brother was glad I was there, glad someone was there. I gave the police a general description of the truck but it wasn’t much. I went home and hid from the last five hours as best I could. I tried TV, I tried books, I tried a shower. Nothing relieved me of Tina’s face. You can be the manliest man of all time and still cry in the right situation.

I’m not him, I wept like a camera was panning over me and I needed an Oscar. I found myself sunk into weird selfish guilt like a kid looking under a Christmas tree at all the gifts that weren’t his. Why should she die with me? I didn’t do anything to warrant such a punishment. Slowly with the help of good brandy, I slept. I kept myself in a sort of waking sleeping. When I dream I see her, so every night I got myself good and blotto in hopes of tranquil transitions between the days. Sometimes, it works but only sometimes.

One day (a month short of cirrhosis I’m sure) the numbers come to me. It’s the license plate number of a truck that has caused me no small discomfort. I take myself to the BMV and meet Charlize. She’s pretty and pretty far out of my league but sympathetic enough. I befriend her, I beg her and then a week later the waterworks start up. I’d love to say I was just manipulating her but that would be a gross overestimation of my talents. Through pity, weeks of pestering and friendship, I get a name and an address. Vernon White was not getting a month older.

Four hundred dollars and five days later, I pick up all the courage I need to face him. He lived near the airport. As I approach, the world becomes scenic and destitute. In my head a banjo is playing and it seems to echo all around me. His home’s wheels are flat and the hitch is rusted beyond use. The door is open and Vernon’s a ghastly old apparition of a man. Some time ago he had died. With Vernon dead, I leave empty handed and heavy hearted. I didn’t get what I want but I got better than Tina and that would have to do. Hell, I even made a friend at the BMV.

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