“Samantha, get out of the middle of the road!” I shouted, as a car rushed down the mountain. She giggled and jumped out of the way at the very last possible second.
Once the car’s honking was out of earshot, she turned to me on the side of the road and said, “Live a little, Derek.”
“Yeah, see this? Me, standing on the side of the road? Yeah, that’s me living, not dying. What the hell is your problem?”
“I’m just trying to feel alive, just give me that much, won’t you? It’s not like we’re going anywhere for a while, I mean look at your car, that engine is smoking. Is it such a crime to just pass the time?”
I turned away from her to tend to my overheated car. A hose was busted and there was nothing I could do but wait for my rescue to come fetch us out of this dodgy mountain’s clutches. I don’t know how I let Sam talk me into driving this road anyway. It’s an extra ten miles to our destination. If I had just taken the stupid freeway at least someone would have found us by now. But she stretched that smile of hers as far as she could take it once again and it took my heart for ransom. She has a way of getting everything she wants. Not just from me, but from anyone. There’s a sort of naivety that glistens in her eyes and she can convince anyone that the world was flat. I feel like on a daily basis it’s just her and me on the edge of the world sitting there sipping our sodas without a single care. But, that’s not how the world works, and the reality is that cars break down. I break down. But her, no, she never will. Her nonchalance makes her invincible and it’s infuriating.
Another car sped dangerously close to her and she jumped out of the way once again, but with a dance to her step. She always seemed to be dancing through life, like walking was just a complete bore to her. There was a simple yellow feather in her hair that moved with the wind, back and forth and back and forth directing her movement like some kind of choreographed play. And the world, the whole fucking world is her audience. Her straight black hair gave spotlight to her defined cheek bones. I wonder what the world would be like if she wasn’t just given everything. Yeah, if she really worked for it. Like, if her hands were calloused and her eyelids heavy. Maybe then that stupid smile that dominated her face wouldn’t be so widely known and used. Sometimes I wonder If she can even relate to the goddamn humans that surround her. They go to their nine to five and rush home to pay their bills on time and sleep before daylight. I mean, it must be hard to relate, that’s all. She has a boyfriend with a big wallet and a Daddy who would give his only little girl the world for dinner if she so wished.
“Derek! Derek! Look at that bird! Just look! What kind of bird is that Derek?”
Oh Christ who really gives a shit?
“It’s a raven.”
“Oh! A raven! Like that poem? By…who wrote that poem again, Derek?”
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah. You know, I was never very good with those kinds of things.”
“It was fucking Edgar Allan Poe, Sam. I mean come on even people that don’t read know that.”
She continued to absently stare at the bird as it flapped its wings mightily.
“Free as a bird,” she said, dancing absently, flapping her arms like wings and twisting about on the pavement.
“SAM! Look out—”
But I already heard every bone in her body shatter as a double-decker tour bus crashed right into her. The raven had disappeared, hidden by the sun’s beating rays and the sky’s endless air. Her feather twisted about as it weightlessly found its way down.
And the screaming…the screaming…echoed around the mountains, ricocheting off of the pavement , calling to the sky.
And the cameras flashed. And flashed. The tourists, the police, my mind, the flashing, the flashing…
It’ll never end.
But her naïve smile will never flash again…



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