I wrapped my fingers around the steering wheel, and it squeaked with the pressure as my knuckles turned white. The sound echoed through the car as my grip continued to tighten. I used to wonder if it was harder to know you’re going to die, or just dying without the ability to say goodbye. The tears began to stream down my face as I sped down the highway. The guardrails were just silver blurs as I hammered the gas.
I shouldn’t have wondered it. My life was cruel punishment for the thought. The question should’ve been what’s harder, never getting to say goodbye or knowing that every breath could be goodbye?
My chin trembled as my eyes fell to the speedometer.
I was going too fast.
The highway was too straight; a never ending path in front of me that I wanted to drive on until I fell off the edge of the Earth.
I already had, hadn’t I?
My eyes lashes fluttered, the drops of tears weighing them down.
Never getting to say goodbye.
I knew that evil. God, did I know that evil. The look on Dad’s face as the phone slipped from his hands, the words forming at his lips never reaching my ears.
I read them.
I knew them.
The shock hit my body, and I desperately wanted to feel something–anything besides the rolling waves of pain. That numbness weighted down my limbs as the physical ache coursed through my veins. The anger and pain crushed down on me until my chest was so tight I couldn’t breath. Then I had Dad– he was always there, despite his own pain. His warmth overtook the shocking cold of loss. He broke the edges that hardened on my soul.
Knowing that every breath could be goodbye.
That was now.
I lifted my foot off the gas, letting the car slow until I pulled over and stopped. My head dipped between my shoulders as my chest heaved with a sob. I let my hands drop to my lap, red lines marking them where my skin had met too tightly with itself. The tears puddled in my palms.
I knew he was going to die. There was nothing that could stop it. I had to watch it. The pillar of strength when Mom died was withering into nothing in front of my eyes. The numbness that hit me when Mom died was a constant part of my life; it never left. I had just gotten better at hiding it. The chains around what was left of my heart tightened with each passing day. Each day meant there was one less breath. Who would save me now?
My eyes rose to the black sky above me.
There was no cure for Dad.
There was no cure for me.