The Crash

She watched the car heading towards the wall, as though in slow motion. She knew he was going too fast. She knew the collision was inevitable. But it seemed to be taking forever.

Suddenly, a flashback. She was standing on a beach, near some trees. Though she had no recall of having been here before. But still, here she was, and it was home, so she went with it.

She walked along the beach, her basket full of herbs, roots and sea vegetables. Enjoying the feeling of hot sand under her feet. But hungry, so she moved faster.

Then, putting down her basket in the tent, she grabbed a bowl of food and went to sit outside to eat. She noticed now she was coming of age, the village people naturally drew back from her. She knew this was a reflection that she was becoming the healer. But, not so long ago she’d paddled with the other children, laughing and splashing. It still felt a little odd.

Her brother swung himself down next to her. Her twin flame. As blonde as she was dark, as tall as she was short. He still laughed with the boys, and flirted with the girls, though his destiny was to marry into another tribe as leader. To marry a healer like she would soon be.

He had no fear. He teased her mercilessly. On the edge of adulthood, part of her loved this remaining flicker of childhood, part wanted him to grow up. Today, they chatted easily as they ate. Talked about going fishing later.

Fast forward. The boys of war rumbled towards the village. The war had nothing to do with her tribe, these boys were just passing through. As was tradition, the villagers fed them, offered them space to sleep for the night. The next morning, the boys heading to war gathered, jostling, noisy. Her brother was with them. Dressed like them, armed, speaking their language. “Why do you go?” she asked. “For the laugh,” he said.

Fast forward. The young man lying on the bed in front of her was mortally wounded. She knew that. The few returning from the war had brought him back to her. Her twin. His flame had gone out. She knew it was only a matter of time. But still, she tried everything. Knowing the best she could do was ease his passing. She couldn’t help but feel like a failure. How could the healer not heal her own brother?

Fast forward. Now old, now dying herself. Lying comfortably, surrounded by her animals. Now, she knew what grandmother had said all those years ago was true. Death is also a healing, when the time comes.

Without warning, she was back. The ambulance was leaving. No lights. No rush. She knew what that meant.

Quietly, she turned and walked away.

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