The final chapter. Yes, this actually did happen. Yes, I know all of the people in this story.
Note to Readers: Each chapter in this story has been told by a different character.
- Chapter One was written from the perspective of Crash, the dad.
- Chapter Two was told by Scarlet, the mom.
- Chapter Three was simpler in language because it was told by Mia, who was then nine years old.
- Chapter Four comes to you through the words of Ian, who was then ten years old.
- Chapter Five was told by Crash’s father’s wife — the step-grandmother of Ian, Mia, Maddie, and Liam.
- Chapter Six was written in the voice of a local police officer who responded to the scene of the accident.
- This final piece, Chapter Seven, is written from the perspective of Crash’s father, the grandfather of the children.
I invite you to go back and scan the chapters, both to appreciate these different characters’ points of view and to refresh your memory as the story wraps up.
I answered my cell at work.
My wife rarely calls me when I’m working. She’ll text something simple like “Please bring home milk.”
So if she actually calls me at work, it’s a pretty big deal.
(Lots of background noise made it hard to hear her.) “Paging Dr. Patel. Code Blue.”
“You need to get here NOW. We’re in the Emergency Room.”
“Their van was T-boned by a huge truck while we were on the way to get ice cream.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“Ummm, no. I’m not,” she said, beginning to be exasperated.
“So… why do you need me to be there?”
I could almost hear her beating her head against the wall…
“Ummm… 1) Crash is YOUR son. 2) There are FOUR children here in the ER and there are not enough adults who are relatives to be with all of them at the same time….”
Her pitch rose with each sentence.
“3) They came to see YOU. They didn’t come to see the back of you as you wave goodbye while you go to work every day!”
Her voice was not only shrill by this time, but so loud that I’m sure my coworkers could hear her.
“Do whatever you have to do. Your son and his entire family are in the Emergency Room. This isn’t rocket science. Get over here NOW.”
I walked in, got past the security levels, and found my wife at the nurse’s station.
“Where are the kids?” I asked.
“Crash is in A with Ian, who has a lot of safety glass embedded in his scalp. He’s got Liam with him in the car seat, but whenever the doctors come in to assess Liam, Crash has to go to the B bay, leaving Ian alone in bay A.”
“Why can’t they just put them in the same room?”
“Policy or something. Anyway, Scarlet’s jumping between C and D with Maddie and Mia. They seem to be bruised, but so far no serious injuries detected.”
“Got it. Where are our boys?”
“They’re at home. Melissa came over from across the street. She’ll stay with them for a couple of hours, but I’ll need to go home then. You need to STAY HERE and help Crash and Scarlet out — not only through the night, but until they get to the next stage after everyone is released.”
So… both Crash and Scarlet refused treatment.
They were certain that they would be separated from the kids if they agreed to treatment. Also, Crash has a documented history of high blood pressure. That alone would keep him from being present with his two sons as they were assessed.
Scarlet stayed with the girls, Mia and Maddie — especially once they both began complaining about abdominal pain. The (possibly invasive) exams that they both faced would certainly not be occurring without her being present.
At 2:30am, I piled the whole crew into my wife’s van. She’d taken my small car home hours before to take care of our boys.
Everybody really wanted to just head back to the hotel, but we needed to go to the towing yard where their wrecked van was waiting. There were several items sitting in the van that they needed but were unable to take with them from the accident scene.
So we drove to the tow yard. Scarlet sat with the sleeping kids while my son and I went to retrieve the items from the van.
We walked past the van twice before we recognized it. We both cursed under our breath once we caught sight of it.
The thing was totaled.
Every airbag had been deployed.
The passenger side of the van was completely destroyed, from where Scarlet had been sitting up front to the sliding door where Maddie had been sitting.
And the rear passenger side window was gone, which explained why Ian had so much safety glass embedded in his scalp.
It was clear that the van would definitely be considered a total loss. Repairs weren’t going to be an option at this point.
Crash pinched the bridge of his nose and cursed loudly.
I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Yeah. It’s toast. But the precious cargo that was inside — all OK.”
It was true.
Crash and Scarlet were likely going to be bruised and sore.
Thank goodness for Liam’s sturdy car seat and the fact that he was the farthest from the impact.
Both girls — though bruised — were checked out as completely OK.
Only Ian was actually treated for wounds.
Unfortunately, that became a problem. Ian’s birth mother (back in California) had rarely let him visit Crash for extended periods of time. She had NEVER let him leave the state with Crash.
She was hysterical, infuriated, and insistent upon having Ian back in her care immediately. She booked a flight for Ian to be returned to her in California this next morning (which was now today).
We discovered that the rear door for the cargo area was inoperative, so we sighed and began climbing into the driver’s side door to retrieve all of the family’s personal items.
Six hours later, Crash returned to our house after dropping Ian off at the airport to fly back to his mother.
Besides being bruised and exhausted from being up all night, Scarlet and the kids were completely disheartened at the fact that their big first “family adventure” had been cut short by Ian being removed from the group.
My wife had contacted our family physician and begged for follow-up appointments for Crash’s whole family to be seen in the afternoon.
The doctor’s office scrambled to accommodate them, but in the end, the health insurance that Crash had for his family only covered them for doctor appointments in their home state of California. So they cancelled their appointments and took pain relievers to get by.
I suggested to my wife that we give Crash our van to take his family back across country.
Let’s just say that she was not a fan of this idea.
“They need to get back home quickly, be seen by their own doctors, and settle back into some kind of normal before they seek legal advice on the hit-and-run accident. They do NOT need another road trip. Buy the plane tickets already!” she said.
I hugged everyone goodbye at the departure gate — Crash, Scarlet, Mia, Maddie and Liam. I wish I’d had an opportunity to hug Ian again, but that was not to be, as his mother had called for his homecoming earlier.
I hugged Crash long and hard one more time.
“Good to see you, Dad.”
“Yep. Take care, Son,”
As they walked toward the boarding zone, I overheard Mia say, “So… when we get back… could we maybe just a have a quiet night together at home?”
I invite you, my dear readers, to review all seven chapters that I have shared with you.
I need a title for this story, which I may publish as my first eBook.
Please submit your ideas in the comment section.
If you don’t have an idea, please “LIKE” any suggestions that you think are worthy.
The winner of this contest will receive a $20 gift card to a vendor of their choice — a coffee shop, a movie theatre, a restaurant.
The contest closes on MARCH 15, 2018.
Thank you for reading! Thank you for being creative in your ideas for a title.
I am honored that you have stayed with me for so many weeks!