Short Story: Halogen Headlights
Losing a best friend is hard.
The sun was hot. I remember that clearly. Jade and I climbed up into my black beat up Chevy. It took a couple twists of the key to get it to start but after a couple moments of thumping and clinking the old girl’s engine began to putter. I shifted it into reverse and backed it out of the driveway. Jade spun the volume dial and southern rock music started blasting from the speakers.
“This is my favorite,” Jade said, “I love the way the beat pounds in my chest.” She smiled. Man, her smile was contagious.
“Turn it up some more,” I said, smiling back.
We both simultaneously reached down and cranked the window handle until the gusts of wind were engulfing the entire truck cab. We were always so in sync. Laughter filled the air along with the singing. Mine was terrible. Jade’s though, beautiful.
She kept pulling out her rose gold iPhone to record every word we sang on Snapchat. Some had teddy bear filters making our voices sound high pitched. Others were just me. She liked recording me sing even though I sounded like a cat hacking up a hair ball.
“I love your voice,” she said.
“You’re crazy,” I said, blushing.
The sun faded into the moon. Stars always brought out the blue in Jade’s eyes. Headlights flashed through the rearview as we drove down a no-name street. Cars behind us would turn off into their driveways but we would continue to drive straight. We never had a destination in mind, just “out for a drive,” Jade always said.
We were forced to slam on the breaks a few times to avoid hitting kids who played chicken in the streets.
“The heat brings out the crazies,” Jade said.
“Definitely around here,” I said.
“Especially around here.”
“What do you say we call it a night? I have work in the morning.”
“I don’t wanna go home though. Dad’s been drinkin’ since you picked me up this morning.”
I remember hearing the dread in her voice when she spoke those words. It tore my heart apart. Together is where we were meant to be.
“Maybe you can stay with me tonight,” I said.
“You’d open your house to me?”
“Always. Let me just give my mom a heads up,” I said, pulling out my phone.
The yellow left blinker flashed as I turned from the dirt road back onto the main street that ran through town. I drove slowly, making the most out of the time with Jade. The green light wasn’t the only light that lit up the car as I entered the intersection.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw massive halogen headlights. I turned to look and see what was creating the lights and only saw a silhouette of Jade, the bright white lights blinding me as they slammed through the passenger side door. The world fell silent. My world fell silent.
Dazed, I pulled myself out of the truck which landed upside down once we finally came to a stop. Things seemed to be running in slow motion.
No answer. I panicked and rushed over to the passenger side of the truck. Sirens blared in the background. I could’t tell it they were real or just my ringing ears from the collision.
I remember, clear as day, falling to my knees at the sight of Jade. Her beautiful blonde hair dripping red. Her beautiful blue eyes were closed. I felt that her beautiful heart was stopped, but I couldn’t reach her to check.
My eyes teared up. My chest tightened and I let out an ear piercing scream of agony. The emergency medical personnel grabbed ahold of me and picked me up off of the ground. He pushed me closer to the ambulance as I tried to resist. I felt the need to go back to Jade.
I couldn’t focus in on my surroundings. I heard buzzing and sirens. I looked at everything but couldn’t make sense of what was happening. That is, until I overheard some of the medical personnel speaking to each other.
“D-O-A,” one of them said.
My heart dropped. I never knew much of the lingo, but I knew “D-O-A” meant dead on arrival. In just a moment, I lost my best friend. I felt my body burning, my eyes began to close as my vision turned white.
“We’re losing her!” the man helping me said.
I felt the ambulance shift into gear as the sirens turned on. The red and blue lights lit up the accident scene. I had no fight left in me and closed my eyes.