Maggie sat in the front seat of her blue Honda hatchback blankly staring into the darkness of the night, the parking lot full. At the other end, the ambulance pulled up to the doors where the light was. The driver jumped out and moved around to the back, opening the doors and pulling the gurney outward. The frame dropped down and the bed moved easily on the wheels as the two walked up to the opening doors, and then they were gone into the light and the doors closed again.
Startled by the red flashing lights and the sound of the fire engine pulling up behind the ambulance, Maggie's thoughts came back to the present moment. Realizing she had sat there in the car for a while, she reached forward to the keys dangling from the column and turned, now also hearing the familiar whir of the engine. She pulled the gear shift back, placing it into the D slot, and slowly pulled away from the space. As she turned onto the road, there was complete darkness except for the stripe down the middle. She drove slowly over the ten mile stretch, her mind continuing to replay the events since the phone call at 1:30AM.
Yes, they were keeping him overnight for observation. Yes, when his head hit the counter as he fell backwards, he passed out. YES, how fortunate that when he had walked in with the groceries, he had missed closing the door to the apartment all the way, leaving it ever so slightly ajar. Who would have known he was hurt? What if his neighbor had not come home at such a late hour, shortly after he had? All the what if's played through her mind as she drove slowly down the road. What if she had not given the neighbor her number when he went out of town last month - just in case of an emergency?
Turning carefully into the narrow driveway, she pulled up close to the shelves in the back along the wall at the end. She reached over for her purse, not finding it on the seat next to her. The sun was beginning to creep up over the mountains behind her own apartment building. There was more light as she turned and looked into the back seat. Yes, the purse was there and her jacket.
As she entered the building she climbed the stairs to the second floor, fumbled with the keys, her hand shaking as she placed the key into the slot. Opening the door, she noticed the sun shining it's red rays through from the patio door. She walked over to the door, dropped her purse and jacket on the counter and looked toward the rising sun, now peeking brightly over the top of the mountain behind the building. As she turned back toward the livingroom, something caught her eye.
There on the patio table, laying underneath the apple she had pulled from the small tree. Vanity Fair. It now seemed like a lifetime ago when she had written that story. Suddenly she felt her legs weaken, she leaned forward catching the chair and pulling herself onto it. She sat there looking blankly at the apple, at the magazine with her story in it.
How could she have known? Was it only coincidence? What brought those words to her paper so many years ago? Wasn't it odd that she had written this story so long ago, and now, when after years of attempts at getting it accepted, that her brother would fall while putting up groceries? Just like in the first version of her story... And on the very same day her story hit the newstands? Wasn't it odd?
Written for and inspired by Magpie Tales by Willow at http://www.magpietales.blogspot.com/