The night was wrapped in deep darkness. The moon and the stars were veiled by thunderclouds and our headlights were the only sources of light. Cool air brushed against our faces that smelled of fresh grass. I could see her savoring the wind with eyes closed. Her long hair waved, dancing as free as her soul as we both listened to alternative music on the radio.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“Home.” I answered.
“Really? But how come I don’t know this place.” Suspicion etched on her expression.
“I’m not surprised. Only few take this road. It’s almost forgotten, actually.” I answered taking a quick glance of her curious face.
“But how come?” She said throwing me a quizzical look.
“Do you really want to know?” I asked.
“They say this road is haunted. Look out there.” I said, trying to sound scary and convincing as much as I could.
“You’re kidding, right?” She said, obviously scared.
“Yep.” And she gave a jab on an arm before our laughter echoed across the empty grassy fields around us.
“I just want to show you something first before we head home.” My eyes lingered on hers. It was time.
“And what is it?” Her eyes suddenly filled with wonder. I almost couldn’t contain my excitement.
“A surprise.” I said, eyes on the road ahead. She instantly fell silent. She thought I have forgotten what that day stood for.
“Close your eyes.” And I turned off the headlights after I saw her eyelids cover her beautiful eyes.
The moment the lights went out came a moment bathed in complete and palpable darkness. And there it was. I had witnessed it once more, triumphant that I had finally shared it with her.
I kissed her soft lips and whispered, “And now, open them.”
We’re like floating in space as a million winged-lights hovered ahead of us; tiny lights conjured by a million fireflies that had found safe haven by that path of concrete we traversed. Our car gained speed as if we’re about to fly. The lights were flying passed us in a blur of long thin lines of golden light in every direction, each magnified by the night’s shroud in the deepest of black. Words were not enough to illustrate the majesty of what we had witnessed.
“It’s beautiful.” She whispered. I could see every light reflected on her eyes.
“Yes, it is.” I said, wondering if we could together pave all the paths set before us till the end.
She suddenly stood up and raised her hands to the heavens. My heart seemed to slow down when I saw her, arms outstretched trying to catch the lights in her tiny hands, looking as if embracing the moment that was transpiring before her.
We were still accelerating. Speeding ominously fast. Something was definitely wrong.
Excitement is altered in to fear and bliss into an ugly sense of panic. And suddenly all the tiny lights went out. Then came a moment soaked in total darkness. I turned the headlights on and pulled the breaks. It was too late. We hit a dead end. She was the last image i saw. Standing with hands outstretched to the lights she’s trying to catch.
. . .
It’s been three years. I go back there often to see the lights. But they never came back. Not anymore. The lights seemed to have died with her. It was weeks after the incident before I could make sense of what had happened that night. We crashed against a stranded car. I was the one who get the second chance to live. And yet I feel so dead.
This wheelchair that carries me will be my prison; atonement for what I had done until the time comes when I could finally forgive myself. I’ll wait for an absolution that may never come while I remember her, hands outstretched; catching lights she could no longer see.
I bestowed upon her the worst gift a person can give. And now I am wingless. void of light. Aimed to walk through the years of my life without her. Alone.
. . .