There was not a blinding moment. Cheryl liked to imagine that there was one, the instant before the big event that changed everything. She liked to think of him having a split second of regret, so that afterward, he would be forever aware of the harm he had done.
But it didn’t happen. He slept through the entire thing, after being saturated at party, and rolled into the car by a friend. They swerved about in the night, ignoring a stop sign. Severed his aorta. Bled out clueless, his pals said, shaking their heads, while drinking beer on the porch. Oblivious.
She went to bed before the last consoling acquaintance left, exhausted enough to go to sleep in spite of all the chatter in the rooms downstairs. Her bones knew they were being pushed into the mattress by a dream, but from the outside, she seemed blessedly unaware.
In this dream, he was desperate to make her laugh, running about spinning china on the ends of sticks. She begged him to keep the dishes from crashing. All his unpredictable movement made her want to escape. She felt trapped with him in a scorching white room, crying, “Stop, and be yourself again.”
“Here,” he said, “take these. They’ll make you feel better”. She opened her hand, expecting aspirin, but when she looked down, there was a stunned moment, and a communion wafer, marked with the image of a roadside cross.