Untitled by Rebecca Wittner

She loved the way she woke up at the crack of dawn, hearing the birds whistling outside, looking at the dewy grass illuminated by the sunshine. Being an early riser benefits me, May acknowledged, because she never wasted away her day. This Sunday morning, however, May awoke with apprehension. After expectantly peering through her large, arched window and seeing nothing but clouds and gloom, she remembered. It was the third anniversary of May’s mother’s passing.

Surviving teenage years was hard enough, especially because girls are so dramatic, and doing so without a mother proved to be much more difficult. May was named in honor of her mom’s favorite month, when the sun would set so beautifully over the rolling country hills. May’s mom would watch it every night in awe of the beauty of the world. Maybe it was her namesake, and the loss of her mom, that drew her to the sun.

She was an only child ­ and her father was driven to alcoholism to cope with his loss, so on these lonely mornings she would see the sun and feel comforted. She was not alone in her grief. Her mother would still always be with her, in the sun. So on this particular day, when May felt a foreboding sense of uneasiness, she felt truly alone for the first time in a while. On days without the sun, May was not May.

By afternoon, as the dark weather persisted, so did May’s gloomy demeanor. She went sullenly throughout her day, and of course her father didn’t notice her. He came home at 5 from his low­paying job at the local car dealership. Immediately, he took out his whiskey (he turned to cheap whiskey after realizing his constant use of it would be a huge investment) and poured himself a very generous glass. Slumped in front of the television, May realized it would, once again, be up to her to feed them this night.

May decided that in honor of this anniversary, she would pick up Thai food. Her mother absolutely adored the Thai place in the next town over. May didn’t much care for Thai food, but she would suck it up tonight and attempt to enjoy it. It’s all about honoring my mom today she thought after she had called in the order for pickup.

Having only had her license for a month or so, May did not have a great handle on driving the old, beat­ up truck her dad had bought her. With what little money he hadn’t blown away on alcohol, he scrambled some together and bought it for her. It was difficult to drive, and when it was raining out May was always a little fearful. The drive isn’t too long, I’ll put on The Beatles (mom’s favorite band) and be there in no time at all .

Driving along the windy country roads, May rolled down the windows and let the rain fall on her. It was summer, and the sun should have been out until 9 o’clock, if not later. Still, there was no sun. As she crossed over into the next town, May wished there were people in her life that really cared about her. Her dad was a completely absent parent, and her “school friends” never really meant much to her. May needed the sun back in her life, her mom to be there for her again. May was still thinking about this, definitely distracted, as she ran the stop sign. If it have been a different day, maybe May wouldn’t have been in such a daze. She didn’t see the UPS truck headed for her. She didn’t realize what was happening until she was projected out of the windshield of her truck, landing twenty feet away from her car. In her distracted state, May was going much faster than she should have been; the force of the impact was so powerful.

Lying on the ground, not even feeling pain, just numbness, May thought of her dad. He would be utterly devastated and probably driven to his own death, if she did not survive. She thought also of her mom, who was taken too early from this beautiful world. As much as she wanted the warmth of her sunshine again, May knew she had to fight on. Her dad needed her, and she wasn’t going to take her life for granted.

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