It was dark. Night surrounded the truck. The bleak headlights tried their best to slice their way into the pitch black, but they could only get so far. Snow whipped the windshield, the sound of icy wind piercing through the thin slat of window John had rolled down. Enough to cool him, but not enough to clear his head.
The truck hit a bump in the road. John’s head was swimming. He was drunk. A night at the bar to get him away from his wife, the only person in the world who knew how to get under his skin. She always said the things he needed to hear at the wrong moments. Always bringing up his dependence on alcohol, or how he didn’t spend enough time with the kids. This problem and that problem. It was like she was his fucking mother, telling him how to do everything and when to do it.
A bottle of Jack Daniels, fully consumed less than thirty minutes ago, fell from the passenger’s seat to the floor of the car. He had decided to get drunk, piss drunk. The kind of drunk he didn’t expect to survive from. He just couldn’t do it anymore. Couldn’t deal with it. His wife never left work anymore. His kid never acknowledged his presence, or even respected it for that matter.
The snow got thicker, the headlights less powerful, the alcohol seizing him, transporting him to a world of warm, fuzzy comfort. He was tired. He wanted to close his eyes. Sleep was calling him, but he knew that if he fell asleep he wouldn’t wake up. So he tried to fight, tried his hardest to stay awake. But his eyes slipped closed, despite his best efforts. His mind shut down, sleep took him. The truck swerved, curved into the snow, and hit a tree headfirst. John had been wearing his seatbelt, but even that could not save him completely.
He came in and out of consciousness. He remembered the lights, deep blue and crimson red; flashing non-stop, signaling that he was in distress. He wanted those lights to turn off. He didn’t want the world to know he was in distress. It would only lead to long talks about how he needed to get his act together, heal the bonds with his family, cease the amount of alcohol that passed his lips. He didn’t want that.
He was in the hospital bed, his vision blurred from the blood in his eyes. He heard screaming from outside the room. It sounded like his wife. Probably was her.
He couldn’t make out the sentences. The EKG machine beside him sounded out tones that got faster and faster, his heart trying to sound out for help, that it needed sedatives.
She sounded so helpless. He could hear her tears from the hallway. He tried to speak, but found he couldn’t move his mouth. Something was broken; everything was broken.
In and out again. She was with him this time, sitting next to him in a small, uncomfortable chair. The blood was gone, the machine sounding steady tones. He tried to call out her name, but couldn’t speak. Tissues surrounded her. He wished she would leave. He wanted to be alone with his mistakes. He wanted to come to terms with them on his own. He knew that the second he was able to speak she would lecture him up and down about alcohol. About her. About his family. He just wanted to close his eyes and sleep. Sleep forever. He didn’t care where he went, if he went anywhere. He just wanted to be alone somewhere. He looked at his wife. She was the only one in the hospital room. The only one who had visited. The only one who had cared enough to come.
He just wanted to be alone.