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Changing Lanes

You're going to crash this car, she said to him, and glass splintered around her like a halo. Pressure forced the metal sides to fold like a slice of American cheese. The tires burned against the asphalt as he tried, unsuccessfully, to stop, turn, slow. Her bones cracked and splintered, flesh wholly unprotective against the weight of the car that slid across the sunshine yellow lines and into their lane. Their skulls flew forward, back, bounced against the plastic headrest, ricocheted off again. That's what she would remember, how her head hurt, how it never seemed to stop hurting. How it hurt as they screamed about his eyes, her hands, forgotten times, stretches of silence that seemed to crack her skull in half. The summer had gone like that. Pressure, crack, fold. He brought her daisies one afternoon, after he gripped too hard and left a bruise the size of a plum on her bicep. Everything hurts, he said. She nodded even though she hated him. Her head hurt. She would wake up in the middle of the night to him standing in the doorway, eating scrambled eggs, a black figure lit from the kitchen light behind. He would sit and put his hand on the back of her head and feed her a bite. His eggs were always overcooked. She would be asleep by the time he came back in. She never turned over, even when he said her name, even when he talked about how he had dreamed of her with her hair up on the porch of that house with the windows and the lawn. For them. A real, daytime dream, not the kind she had, the nighttime visions that soaked and exhausted her. So much of the time, she trembled. He tried to hold her tight but even that wasn't enough. Neither of them knew why, not really. It was a relief, the colliding of the cars, the smashing of the metal and fiber. Every tooth and splinter and hair hung, suspended, unmarred in that one, singular second. One swift and delicate moment for the two to coexist, united in thought, before the shards came raining down around them.

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