Friday the 14th - 12:20 p.m.
I did not go with Mitchell to see the show. I have been sitting here in my apartment, listening to my neighbor’s barking dogs. I have not been to sleep yet. I came home from the Social Distortion concert last night in a weird haze. I probably shouldn’t have even gone.
I had called Elkie to invite her to go to the show, and she told me she couldn't because she had a class that night. Elkie said that she did need to talk to me though, so we met at this little all-night diner located on campus an hour after the concert let out. Elkie told me that a girl that she, Mitchell, and I had known back in high school was dead.
Elkie had colored her hair since I had last seen her. It was now black, and the shitty fluorescent light in the diner made it look like it had blue streaks. It looked nice.
I didn't know what to say after Elkie told me that Shannon had died, so I told her that I liked her new hair coloring. Elkie reached across the table and held my hand. Her hands were soft, and she still felt warm.
Back in High School, Elkie, Mitchell, and Shannon were all in the class a year ahead of me. Even though I was behind them a year, we were in the same study hall, lunch period and extracurriculars, so we became friends. Shannon and I had even dated for about eight months during my freshman year when she was a sophomore. She was one of my first “real” girlfriends - not that all the previous ones had been imaginary, like the current group of women I’m involved with it seems.
At the end of my sophomore year, and almost a year after we had stopped going out, Shannon was in a terrible car accident. A drunk driver crashed into her straight on, and she went through her windshield and then right through the windshield of the pickup truck that had hit her. Shannon was in a coma for ten months. They had to do seven separate facial reconstruction surgeries on her. When she did come out of the coma, she had partial amnesia and could only remember her life up until a month or so before we had broken up.
They tried to explain to her what had happened and that it was almost two years later than what she could remember, but Shannon had also suffered severe brain damage. She later had to be re-taught certain things, re-potty trained and how to write again; simple, basic stuff. It was rough.
I visited her in the hospital during her coma but hid from her after she woke up. The fact that she woke up thinking we were still boyfriend and girlfriend freaked me out. I didn't know what to say to her, so I said nothing at all. Eventually, a year later, I ended up taking her to her Senior Prom. It was for the wrong reason because I did it out of pity since no one else had asked her.
By that time, she was somewhat ok with her memory, but her face was still badly scarred. After the prom, I took her home. I never talked to her again. Shannon deserved better from me and didn't get it. After graduation, I never knew what had happened to her. That is, until last night.
Elkie told me that a few days ago that Shannon had been hit by a pickup truck while crossing the street a few blocks from where she lived in Texas. It turned out that Shannon had moved to Austin, Texas and gotten married to another head trauma survivor she had met in a rehab program. They had a son together but had gotten a divorce soon after he was born. Shannon had also just recently lost her job.
Elkie said the truck hit Shannon around three o’clock in the morning. Elkie said that it was the only vehicle on the road at the time, and the driver took Shannon to the hospital, but it was too late. Shannon lapsed into another coma and died early the next afternoon. Elkie and I didn't say anything to each other for a long time after that. Not until the waitress came and refilled our coffee.
That was when I asked Elkie if Shannon had stepped out in front of the truck on purpose.
Elkie held my hand again and told me it wasn't my fault.
Elkie's hands were soft and warm from holding the coffee, and they almost made me believe her.