People said my husband brought the accident on himself, because he was a workaholic. He worked too hard, too late. It was inevitable, they murmured. He must have been drinking that night, they said. His grey Honda was found smashed against the tree at the entrance of our subdivision. I say he almost made it home.
The police said he was texting. I say he wanted me to know he was running late. I couldn’t look at that text for years.
He only drank when we had friends over, and never more than a couple of beers. His phone was destroyed in the accident, unable to work anymore. They found the remains on his lap. But I have the time of his text engraved in my brain. He wasn’t texting when he crashed.
Some nights, when I drive our son back from baseball practice, I still see his car at the stoplight, waiting to turn into our neighborhood. I see his fingers curled furiously around the wheel, his lips a tight line of stress. I had scolded him, screamed even, for being late all the time. Baseball games went by without a father, parent meetings, school recitals, couples retreat. I blamed him for our son’s bed wetting and my sleepless nights. I see his lips still pressed tightly as he slams on the accelerator, ignoring the red light.
Other times, I can see the phone on his lap, on silent mode, nearing the stoplight. He taps his thumb on the wheel, his forehead wrinkled at a thought - a looming deadline at work maybe, the anticipation of his supper on our dinner table, a gift for our anniversary. He doesn’t notice the red light and barely dodges the oncoming car. The Honda swivels, and he loses control over the wheel. His eyes open wide, his lips form a terrified O before his body bursts into million pieces.
At the altar, twelve years ago, he’d promised to love me and honor me always, and bring up our children according to the law of Christ.
He was a workaholic – a father, nevertheless, who occasionally tucked our son in and kissed him good night. A husband. Someone to share my life with.
Our son still wets his bed sometimes and I can’t sleep at night.
Bio: A writer and photographer, Krisztina Fehervari was born and raised in Hungary. She has lived in many places around the world before settling in Texas a decade ago with her husband and three children. Her work has appeared in Foliate Oak, Touch, and elsewhere. For more information visit www.krisztina.fehervari.com
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