By Olivia Gidlow
It was snowing on the day it all happened. All of it. It was blurry, and I could hardly see. The flecks of snow stuck to the window of my car. My brother beside me told me to stay calm. I couldn’t. My face burned and itched. It was bright red and my teeth were clenched so hard together, I heard a buzzing in my ear. My brother’s words didn’t match his tone. His words said stay calm, but his tone said watch the road, or we both die. It was silence. Surrounding us was the white flurry of danger. My legs were stiff and aching, pressing as hard on the brake as I could, just enough so that we would still be moving. My stomach twisted and clenched. I thought I could throw up, but I didn’t have the strength to look away from the road. My fingers grasped the wheel so tight my knuckles were bleached white. 10 and 2, I told myself, 10 and 2. Then I made my mistake. I snagged a quick look at my brother, barely turning my head. There in that instance I saw his eyes lock on mine, while my long dirty blond hair twisted into my face, blocking my eyes. In that small moment I lifted my hand off of the wheel to move the daring strand of hair. Then I saw my brothers face shift from concentration to fear. “SAM!” he bellowed so ferociously that shivers were sent all throughout my body. What I hadn’t noticed was my left hand, that was still on the wheel had slipped from 10 to 6. We were swerving, and fast. I had never felt the fear I did at that moment. My foot slammed on the brake like it never had before.
My eyes frantically looked for any sign that the car had stopped moving, but it hadn’t. The tires screeched and slid along the icy road.
“Luke! Luke, help, please! I don’t know what to do!”
My voice shocked me. It had never been filled with the fear it held in that moment. As Luke lunged over to grab the wheel, I let go a second too early. The wheel slipped. I was jerked. My foot fell away from the brake. It was over. We skidded off the bridge that horrible day and as I looked at the frozen lake before me, as our car slipped, I shut my eyes bracing my body for impact. My brothers body still strewn across my seat leaned upwards and grabbed a handle on the top of the car. I squinted my eyes open to look into his like I had so many other times, like the mistake I had made just seconds before. I heard a crash and a gurgling bubbling noise. We had hit the ice and broken through. My brother frantically tried to unlock the car door and with my last strength I lifted my arm to click the unlock button. He swam out of the car expecting me to follow. The car was flooding deeper into the depths of the ocean and the water had blanketed my face washing me over with a sense of doom. Blinking away the stinging salt in my eyes, I lifted my hand one last time as my brother looked back as if to assure him to save himself. I meant it too, more than I had meant anything in my life but then I saw my him turn back. My heart fluttered with regret. Why didn’t he just keep going. Please go I motioned with my eyes, but he didn’t receive the message. I felt woozy. It was over I didn’t have the strength my eyes closed in the vision of my brother lost in the waves of ice and murkiness.
I opened my eyes to panic. I felt water in my throat and saw officers above me pressing on my chest. I sputtered water out from my mouth. I breathed in, deep but struggled. Soon sound joined sight. I heard sirens, walkie-talkies, and hectic voices, but all I could think about was Luke. Where was he? Did he come back and save me? Did someone else find me? Is he okay? I tried to replicate these thoughts to the officers above me but all that came out under my sudden sobs was,
“Luke, Luke, where is he?!”
“Honey, he -Uh- helped you make it out, but the riptide and current pulled him back, we are trying to find him but haven’t had any luck yet,” a woman officer explained to me in her best mom voice.
“No, no, no!” I got out through my frantic tears. I panicked, and struggled my way away from the hands that pinned me down.
“Sweetie, you’re not strong enough, please relax!”
Relax! Was she joking? The word caused a searing pain throughout my body. I kicked my way up away from the all of their hovering gazes, in disbelief someone could tell me to relax. Anger pulsated through my veins. I threw the wool blanket that wrapped me up like a cocoon, on the ground. I didn’t feel the difference of temperature, all I could think about was Luke. I didn’t see my purple hands shaking as I adjusted them into a point, all I could think about was Luke. I couldn’t hear the voices screeching after me, all I could think about was Luke. I lurched my feet off the ground, again bracing myself for impact, but this time I felt a tightening along my waist. Someone’s hands tightened around me and brought me to the ground again. I turned around half expecting it to be Luke. It was only an officer, and dread filled my spirit. I felt light headed again, anger raging through me, regret, sadness, depression, guilt, all swarmed into my body at once. I clutched my head, dropping to my knees, and let out a deafening scream. I felt my eyes unfocused, and to the words “please, ma’am, try to understand…” I crumbled to the blinding pain.