Dale was driving down a long dirt road, he was reminiscing over his life. Thinking of all the good, bad, hardships, sorrows and happiness, his life had encompassed.
The sun shone into the windshield of his 1996 green dodge neon as he drove causing him to squint his eyes beneath his thick bifocals. He bought this vehicle for his late wife quite some time ago as a present.
His wife had the most beautiful and energetic smile and emerald green eyes he had ever seen, while glen had dark brown eyes. Although his eyes now do not appear as they did when he first met his wife. Now filled with cataracts, causing his eyes to become sore way too often throughout the day. He thought to himself constantly how lucky he was to have been married to such an honest and kind woman. Blessing him with five wonderful children throughout the years.
He had spent the past few days out in the sun driving around in his wife’s car. Blessed with two glorious days of freedom since leaving the hospital.
He had fought with his children for months to let him go home and spend the remainder of his life enjoying the belongings and home, he and his wife had worked so hard to earn.
They made a living off of farming, that’s all they knew. Doing the same since they were born. Milking the cows, collecting eggs and feeding the animals every single day without fault. along with the annual crops that had to be seeded.
He was happy to be free of that damn hospital. The constant rotation of people in and out of his room. All the sounds and noises coming from visitors, staff, patients and machines. Talking, yelling, beeping, and ringing it was all he dreamt of when he lay in his hospital bed at night, often he would lay there for hours excited for the moment he could walk free of this place.
The only reason he stayed was to keep his children happy. They were concerned for his health as he had been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer three months ago, and his health has been rapidly declining ever since.
It took him what felt like years to finally convince his children that the hospital is not where he wanted to die. Instead, he wanted to see “the light” laying in the comfort of his bed. The bed he had shared with his wife Sheryl for 70 odd years.
While Dale was deep in thought he didn’t notice the traffic up ahead speeding by. The long dirt road that he was driving on was coming to an abrupt halt. The red stop sign in the distance reflecting light and sparkling in the sun.
It was a very bright and warm sunny day, the sun causing the black pavement up ahead to radiate waves of heat. The constant flood of traffic on the main highway as it crossed the old dirt road was filled with the roar of engines.
Dale was headed straight toward the oncoming traffic, he zoomed past the red stop sign. When he snapped out of his daydream it was too late, he was immersed in the flood of traffic.
To Dale, everything almost felt as if it was going in slow motion. He could see the automobiles rushing towards him as they honked aggressively.
He could hear his door crinkle as the vehicle on his left slammed into his wife’s car. The smell of burning rubber engulfed his nose, and the screeching of tires on the pavement was deafening. Yet the silence that came after was something he had never heard before.
Then darkness taunted the light of the summer day, pulling at the edges of his eyes. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, leaving his thoughts behind him.
When Dale had woken he could hear a swirl of talking and beeping. Could it be? Almost like a nightmare you can’t wake up from. He was back at the hospital.
But why, how? He was not sure how he was back there, the last he remembered was driving. It couldn’t be a dream, if so it was the best he had in a while.
He felt warmth resonate through his hand, when he looked down he could see his daughter grasping his hand, intertwined between both of hers.
She was staring at him, her face coated with salty wetness from her tears.
Dale couldn’t help but stare into her eyes. Her eyes were identical to her mother’s. Her emerald green iris glistened from the hospital lights.
He tried to talk, but nothing would come out. His throat was so dry it hurt to breathe.
His daughter noticed him trying to talk “it’s alright dad” she stated. “You were in a car accident. The ambulance took you to the hospital.”
Then it hit him like a ton of bricks, he remembers crossing the road and meeting traffic.
“Was anyone hurt?” He asked his daughter.
She remained quiet for some time. Her demeanour changed, what once was happiness was now filled with sorrow.
“Dad, everyone is doing alright.” She stated.
“Yes, but did I hurt anyone.” Dale just couldn’t picture a world where he was hated by anyone. Everyone that knew him adored him, he was the kindest most gentle man they have ever met. He would help anyone he could, even if it meant going without.
“I’m sorry dad, there was a mother and child.” She replied.
Dale's eyes began to fill with tears, eventually filling up and flowing over the edges of his eyes and onto his wrinkled cheeks. How could this possibly be? A mother and child?
“The mother has been admitted to the hospital due to complications but will be sent home later today. Her boy was not injured at all. It’s alright dad. What you need to do now is feel better, and get some rest.”
This was simply not an option for Dale he had to meet with her before she left the hospital.
Dale sat up, wobbly and weak dizziness filling his head causing him to fall forwards toward the cold dirty floor. His daughter noticed and sprung forward catching him before yet another injury could occur.
He settled himself into a wheelchair and had his daughter push him down the hall. They could hear a child’s laughter echoing throughout the walls of the hospital.
They turned a corner and the laughter became louder and louder, warming his heart. He hasn’t heard a child laugh in forever, it was music to his ears.
They entered the room, but there was no one there. The bed was empty, the sheets were removed, showing the old thin cracked mattress. Worn over the years from the many bodies that had occupied its space. The bed was soaked in cleaner, the smell of bleach resonating through his lungs with each breath he took.
Panic had struck Dale, he knew from his previous visit to the hospital that this was not a good sign.
“Hello, can I help you?” someone said from the corner of the room.
Dale jumped, startled by the unseen voice. He turned around and found a woman sitting in a chair with a little boy standing beside her.
“Umm yes.” stated Dale “I am looking for a woman who was in a car accident.”
“I was in a car accident.” Said the women
Dale’s mouth burrowed into a frown, he struggled to find the words to apologize for what had happened. ” I, I, I” he stammered. “I think it was my fault and I am so sorry for what happened.” He continued to explain what happened, the woman was very understanding, she had the presence of an angel and somehow it comforted Dale.
They talked with one another for hours sharing stories of their lives. Her name was Abigail and she was born an hour from where Dale lived. Dale knew her grandparents and had worked with them once in his younger years.
After some time they finished talking and Dale had his daughter Katherine wheel him back to his cold hospital bed.
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