Tart, but sweet. The sticky, potent liquid covered her entire body. The smell overpowered any of her other senses. It was cold and dripped lower down her body. The longer she sat in it, the colder she seemed to feel. From her hair, it saturated her clothing and her seat. No part of her or the seat was untouched by it. The sour substance was all she could focus on. The sensation of cold created a deep numbness, but it was faint in comparison to the numbness she was used to. It was the sweet and sour smell that took the reins on her senses. All she could focus on was the smell of the lemonade coating her and the interior of the car.
Ironically, lemonade was Bloom’s least favorite drink. She would never decline a sip if offered. Bloom was polite enough to never reject such a kind offer on the rare occasion that one was extended her way. Lemonade was just never a drink she would seek out for herself. Maybe once a year at the local fair that would come each November around her birthday, but otherwise it was a pretty irrelevant indulgence. Now that the smell was all that she could truly fixate on, it seemed like a strange thing to be focused on in her last moments. She always thought someone’s last moments of life would have some reminiscence of things they enjoyed. Something joyful or tasty or overall happy. That their mind would take them to a happier place to tune out the inevitable pain.
Not even Bloom’s mind could think its way out of the overwhelming smell of lemonade. This was the same mind that thought her out of many problems. That helped her succeed in her academic goals. That came up with witty comebacks that made all her co-workers enjoy her sharp humor. The same mind that told her to stay quiet about her struggles. That thought of clever ways to explain her inconsistencies. To hide her pain. That also convinced her to stop at her sister’s favorite lemonade shop on the way home from work to bring her a drink, despite how drained she was.
A mind so powerful, conquered by lemonade. Was it even that powerful to begin with then? If this was also the same mind that let her indulge her craving just a little too much this time. That let down its guard for an extra moment this time.
The same mind that let her drive her car in front of the oncoming semi. No, the same mind that encouraged her to.
It was a split second, a passing thought. One she had experienced on several occasions before. To know what it would feel like to rip her steering wheel to the right and drive off the causeway into the frigid, choppy waters hoping that she would experience every sensation of what it felt like to drown. To know what it would feel like to take just one more step forward when she was already at the very edge of the highest peak at the end of the hike to feel every bone break with each impact as she fell hundreds of feet. To know what it would feel like if she pressed the razor blade a little harder into her inner thigh this time.
All passing thoughts. All chalked up to morbid curiosity. A call to the abyss. Bloom, having been the child who got in trouble for asking too many “what if '' questions, she knew her mind would run just a little more wild than everyone else’s. Eventually, the cute and annoying overload of questions slowly transitioned into questions that started to scare her. They were questions she knew she couldn’t bring up to others, so she suppressed them. Until the thoughts started to intrigue her instead.
Sitting at the left turn at the intersection with the flashing yellow turn arrow, she could tell the straight lanes were about to turn yellow. She knew the rhythm of this intersection well because it was one she would get caught at everyday on her way to and from work. Bloom could never time it just right to make it through the intersection, therefore, she was very familiar with the light cycle. She also knew that a yellow light was more of a challenge than a warning to slow down in this area of town. Seeing that traffic violations were the least of police concerns in a city overrun by drug crimes, no one thought twice before running a red light here and there.
After pulling a late shift at work, getting home was all she wanted to do. To have some welcomed familiarities after a particularly rough day at work. To be loved on by her dog who always seemed to believe ten years passed in the span of eight hours and to have the same evening conversations with her sister on the days they would actually see one another. To recluse in her room, followed by her anxiety ridden pitbull who would refuse to let Bloom out of sight after she entered the apartment. To throw off her scrubs and climb into bed wearing the same pajamas from Ross that brought her some comfort after long days. Especially days like today where they lost a three year old patient to a drunk driver. To curl up with her dog who would give unrelenting love and fall asleep to do it over again tomorrow.
What would it feel like to be the one on the other side of the situation this time? To be the one who was impacted by the collision rather than the one relentlessly trying to save each hopeless case. To just feel the brutality of the impact, but also not having to feel anything at all. Bloom had these passing thoughts before, but the opportunity couldn't have presented itself any better. As the seed was planted in her mind, Bloom saw the semi speeding up to make it through the intersection rather than attempting to slow down as his light turned yellow. Feeling as if she would never be presented with such a golden opportunity at the perfect time again, a sense of urgency overtook Bloom. She pressed her gas pedal to inch her just another ten feet into the intersection beyond what she had already crept up to have a better view.
It was the fastest slow experience of her life. An action that took less than five seconds played in slow motion before her eyes. The adrenaline made her hyper aware of the high beams and frantic honking that was geared toward her right before impact was made. Even her car being rammed through the intersection and into the pole felt painfully slow.
Then all she could smell was lemonade. There was no sense of time. There wasn’t even a sense of physical pain. Bloom didn’t get to feel what that little boy felt right before his mom said her final goodbyes in front of Bloom. She didn’t feel what it felt like to be greeted by her dog after a long day. Or the bliss of finishing a great book. She couldn’t think of a single thing that made her laugh or the high of finishing a hard hike. Bloom didn’t feel the rush of getting on stage to sing karaoke after a few hours of heavy handed drinks. Nor could she recall a strong, deep hug from her dad. Especially the ones she craved where he whispered things in her ear as she took in his earthy scent that felt like home. Nothing that ever made Bloom happy found its way into her last conscious moments.
Bloom was chasing a last single rush of something that would make her happy after the endless pain and exhaustion. An exhaustion that no one would accept since she seemed so well put together. To draw her out from the numbness or for something to answer at least one of her questions. One last attempt at feeling something good, or feeling anything at all. Instead, she was just met with the smell of lemonade marinating her mangled body until she would inevitably be announced dead on arrival.
Had she known that would have been the case, maybe she would’ve chosen to just drive home, give her sister the lemonade, and do it all again tomorrow. Until the next unrelenting urge would consume her.
About the Creator
As a 23 year old grad school student, I spend a lot of time writing academically. Now I’m taking time to write creatively and enjoy creating stories about whatever makes me happy.
Follow my journey on instagram too: @nani.cruz.writes
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