So, it’s Wednesday. And you all know what that means:

I *hate* Wednesdays.

Though today I did write roughly 850 words, since I wrote my Idol entry. It ended up being a nonfiction piece and not the sexy one I was planning on doing for “hands” because I found out today that my best friend (who died in a car accident 6 months ago to the day, RIP Mel) was killed by a drunk driver. The guy got charged with 1st degree vehicular homicide, drunken driving, and additional drug charges. He’s out on bail, now, but I kinda hope the bastard gets put behind bars for a long, long time, even if he does plead out.

***

“You haven’t heard yet, have you?”

Nick stands on the other side of the baby gate, his fingers tightening around the edge of it. His face twists with an emotion you’re not sure you’ve seen on him — not since your grandfather passed away that summer. It’s an expression of great pain; an expression that fills you with dread.

“Heard what?” The words pass your lips as you place the netbook away from you, your son clinging to you, still drowsy from waking up for the day. It’s too early for bad news, but the sooner you hear it, the better.

“Melissa’s dead.”

Tears are in your eyes as you’re only capable of shrieking one single word: “What?”

Your brother rambles, his explanation shaky at best, his hands moving in all directions as he talks. You glean enough from him to determine what to look for in the news. One quick google search leads you to the local paper’s website. 24 year old woman killed in Churchmans road crash. Pictures of Melissa’s car, decimated, so crumpled it’s about half the size it was. But still, it’s her car. You’d recognize it anywhere.

Those pictures confirm it, make it real. Your best friend for ten years, gone. Dead on the scene, not wearing her seatbelt, on her way home to or from work — you’re not sure which. Does it really matter now? Probably not.

Your hands keep you busy with cleaning things, typing others, writing, making, baking. Anything. No time to stop. No time to think. As long as your fingers are doing something, you’ll make it through the day, until your wife comes home.

You move your fingers faster, typing piece after piece, hoping to purge the thoughts from your brain. As long as your hands are busy, your mind can’t be. Or so you tell yourself as you look after your child and try to keep yourself composed. Multiple times you pick up your phone, itching to call your wife, but you stop yourself.

Should you tell your wife? She left for work maybe thirty minutes ago. Your child hasn’t even had breakfast yet, considering he slept in for once. And Nick — Nick’s since retreated to his room, eyes bloodshot and filled with tears. You’d ask him, but he’d probably tell you to wait and tell her when she gets home, after all.

That way, you can be there to comfort her. That way, you can hold her hands and maybe your hands and voice won’t shake while you talk. She’s at work, let her work. You can handle this. You can keep yourself together ‘til 5:30, even though it’s only nine.

Questions roll themselves over in your mind. They don’t know why the other driver careened out of his lane and into hers. An investigation pending, likely going to take months. You want answers, but as you speak at Melissa’s funeral a few days later, you know you may never have them.

So instead, you keep busy. You won’t ever forget her, you won’t ever forget the pain of losing her, but those questions never cease. They arrive when your hands stop moving, when you go to sleep at night, when you’re sitting in your car and driving past the site of the accident.

You don’t take Churchmans Road anymore if you can avoid it.

But it’s not enough. You still wonder. You still want to know. Was the other driver drunk? High? He survived the crash, that much you do know. In critical condition when they pulled him from the wreckage, but alive. Fixable, despite what had happened, even if his car surely wasn’t.

Your hands tighten on the wheel when the questions come. You won’t get answers. Months pass. The hardest year of your life started with twisted metal and shattered glass. It started with a short but solemn funeral. It started with an open casket, much to your surprise. They did a good job patching her up, making her look peaceful, even though her jaw didn’t sit quite right.

And maybe it’s okay if you don’t get answers. What matters is that she didn’t suffer, that her death came quickly, that you find ways to live without her, that you find ways to honor her through your books by naming your favorite villain with her initials, her last name.

Six months to the day of her death, you wake up to a facebook message, containing a single link:

New Castle man charged in fatal Jan 3 collision.

The man was alleged to have been driving under the influence at the time of the crash. Drugs present in his car, alcohol present in his body.

He was drunk.

You have your answers.

You put your phone down and climb out of bed, in desperate need of a shower before your wife gets hers. Thoughts roll, your hands shake, and you wonder:

Did you really need to know the answers when they don’t change anything at all?

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