A Story in One Sentence

A girl lights the white cigarette in her hand and she takes a drag until her head begins to soar and she only does this because of that stupid fight she had with her parents over yesterday’s report card but otherwise she’s a good girl and does whatever her parents want but right now all she really wants is to escape from all of the complaints, the nights spent crying on the cold ceramic bathroom floor, the dinners eaten alone because mom and dad aren’t speaking to each other for the fourth time this week and there’s nothing she can do to save them or herself because she’s only a kid and what can kids do but move on from this point on so she stubs out the half-smoked cigarette and takes a walk, crunching the dry autumn leaves into the cement, wondering if they’ll eventually melt into the hardened liquid because that’s what happens to bottle caps and newspapers that are left on the blacktop and run over by the thousands of cars that drive in front of her house and they drive so fast even though there’s ten different signs say ten different things but all of them are warning the drivers to drive slowly or else they’ll hit someone, like that little boy from across the street who might never wake up again even though all he did wrong was try out his new bicycle while his mom went inside to answer the phone because it might have been her sister who is pregnant and she doesn’t know who the baby’s father is so she’s afraid to ask for help from anyone, even her boyfriend who understands and would be willing to do anything for her, and yet now they wait everyday in the critical unit of the hospital, watching his vital signs on a monitor that doesn’t tell them anything about what he’s thinking inside his head, about how he was so excited and happy that daddy got him his own bike for his birthday and he just couldn’t wait for daddy to come home so he had to try it while mommy went inside and then he heard the girl across the street yelling at him to “Watch out!” but when he looked up it was too late and everything hurt so much, especially his heart, because he’d upset his parents, and now he watches from a third person view, watching his comatose body and his parents, wondering why they can’t hear him and hoping that they know it’s not their fault he was doing such a stupid thing, and now the girl who tried to warn him is in the doorway and she looks so sad, she must be having her own troubles at home and he wishes he could comfort her but he can’t get through to her either but she looks up and stares in his ghostly direction as if she can sense that he is there and she smiles sadly and leaves because the moment is too precious and private for her to intrude in so she walks through the automatic doors, takes out another cigarette, and lights it up as she makes the long walk home.


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