Before And After
Judy Cabito



She taps the keys to her cell phone and breathes in the air she took for granite. She wonders if she made a mistake returning home to relive that night: her friends, the drinking, the car, dead man’s curve, the accident, the tree and the recuperation. Only to wake to discover she was the only to survive if survive was the right word.

She'd made a conscious decision to warn her parents of her arrival, knowing they'd celebrate with friends and someone would no doubt say, "So you're Trisha. Ever wonder, who drove that night?" Yes, since no one used a seatbelt, and all thrown from the car.  Matt's head severed, Dale, who she loved — crushed to death, and she and Sarah, best friends, who the forensic team confused who was who, whose parents grieved over the wrong body, held a memorial for the wrong girl, and buried the wrong child, while she lay comatose.

Now as she turns her car toward home, she's confronted by that road that curve that tree and all that came before and after.  She grips the wheel, firmer than ever as she prepares herself for what lies ahead.

First published: May 2018
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