Casey's life takes a terrible twist, leaving her with one parent.
Casey hoped not. She stared out the window and watched the rain falling. The streets were starting to flood ever so slightly, with maybe an inch of water on the road, a little more in the corners by the sidewalks. The moon was full tonight, shedding extra light to make the rain glow even more.
They were driving home from a late graduation party thrown by one of Casey’s friends. It was a few days before Casey’s birthday, so the party had been a combination graduation party for her friend, who had been gone the first half of summer on vacation with her parents, and a birthday party for Casey. Her mother had never been able to afford the insurance for Casey to get her driver’s license, so she had to pick up Casey at one in the morning when the party ended.
“Are you sure he didn’t leave a message on your phone and you haven’t listened to it yet?” Casey asked. Her mom sighed.
“Yes Casey. You have to remember that he’s busy working with the group, making a new CD, and he’s married now. He won’t be spending every spare moment with you anymore.”
“I know, it’s just, he used to call me every week, more when it was near my birthday. But I haven’t heard from him in over two weeks now. I’m probably just overreacting.”
Diane patted her daughter on the shoulder. She didn’t know what it was like growing up with one parent and having the other come and go from your life. Her own parents were still married and set a good example for her, which made it all the harder for them when she told them about Casey the first time. They’d been shocked and upset at first, but then accepted what happened and promised to help so she could graduate from high school. She missed them, and wondered if a trip to see them would be good for her and Casey.
As she started to think about how to pay for plane tickets, she noticed a pair of bright lights to her left. She glanced out her window and saw a car speeding towards them. It swerved left and right, maybe trying to avoid them, but it was clear the driver was drunk. She slammed down the gas pedal, hoping to outrun the car, but it was no use. The car t-boned them. The last thing Diane heard was Casey scream. Then the world went black.
“Casey? Can you hear me?”
Casey slowly regained consciousness. Her eyes fluttered open slowly and focused on someone leaning over her. She realized she was in a hospital bed. The sounds and smells would have been enough to tell her that, but then she felt the tubes and saw the cast on her left arm.
“Casey?” She finally recognized Kevin’s voice.
“Hey sweetie. How are you feeling?”
“Okay, I guess. Where’s mom?” She turned her head cautiously, wondering if she was in the other bed in the room. She didn’t see her, so she turned back to her father for an answer.
“What do you remember?” Casey knew that was a bad sign. He didn’t answer her question about her mother, but she answered his question anyway.
“I remember Mom and I had been driving home from the party, and a car hit us.”
“Yes, you were hit by a drunk driver. He hit your mother head on. She . . . she died instantly.”
Casey’s breath caught in her throat. No, her mother couldn’t be dead. Surely if anyone had died it would be the drunk driver. But her brain wouldn’t let her deny reality for long. She knew her father wouldn’t lie to her about that. Tears pooled in her eyes, spilling down her cheeks. Kevin reached across and grabbed her hands, trying to comfort her. She saw that he was crying too. They stayed like that for several minutes, father and daughter supporting each other in their loss. Neither said anything, for no words were necessary. But then a doctor came in and the moment was gone. Kevin left the room while the doctor checked Casey’s condition. Then he called Kevin back in.
“She only has a mild concussion and a broken left wrist, aside from the other minor cuts and bruises. She was very fortunate. We want to keep her for the day for observation, just to make sure she’s okay, and then she should be able to go home.” Kevin thanked the doctor.
“Brian was wondering if he could come in and say hi,” he told her. “Do you mind?” Casey shook her head and wiped away the tears in her eyes. Her father’s cousin and band mate walked into the small hospital room. Kevin went outside to check on Kristin.
“Hi Casey,” Brian said. There was an awkward moment of silence. Brian didn’t know what to say, nor did Casey. Finally, to break the silence, Casey asked a question that sprang to mind.
“How long have I been here?”
“Only a couple of hours.” Casey nodded absentmindedly.
“What time is it?”
“Four in the morning,” Brian told her after checking his watch. “I’m really sorry about your mom.” Kevin had called Brian the minute he found out what happened. He wanted someone else there at the hospital to wait with.
Brian gave Casey a hug, having nothing else to say. That caused another bout of tears for both. Kevin came back in and held Casey’s hand, giving it an encouraging squeeze to say everything he couldn’t in words. He told Casey Kristin had gone home to get some sleep. Casey told him he should do the same, but he insisted on staying with her. Brian tried to stay, but both told him he should get some sleep and let Leighanne know Casey was alright. He finally agreed. After he left, Casey fell asleep again for a few hours before the doctors had to run some tests. By late afternoon, she was released from the hospital.
Picture of Casey: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gizzmo2z/2298697407/