Newbie. She called me a newbie. I don’t like it, but I suppose I’ve been called it enough times. I apologise and look away as Auvrea kisses Martin.
‘Thank you for answering my questions.’ I say, still not looking at them. Martin suggests quietly that they move back to their seats in the fourth row. They move off and I look up again a few minutes later, to see Auvrea in Martin’s arms still. I hastily turn away again. It always hurt in life that no one ever cared about me, but I think it hurts more that now I'm dead, people are forgetting about me completely and still no one wants me around. I can feel my family moving on from my death. My parents always cared more about my brother, he was popular, successful. He had charm and intelligence. I was the opposite of him – I failed almost every class and I was picked on by pretty much everyone. The phoenix shifts in her seat next to me.
‘Hey. It’ll be alright,’ she says, wrapping an arm around me. I'm not crying, just sitting here blankly in a haze of misery.
‘Sure. Whatever you say, Phoebe.’ I say, not moving my gaze from the back of the chair in front of me. I hear her sigh impatiently.
‘Look, either you can wallow in yourself pity for the next however many years, or you can do something about it. You’ve been given a second chance at life, so don’t waste it!’ I still don’t move, and I can almost feel her rolling her eyes.
‘You’re right, of course,’ I say eventually. ‘I’m always wrong. I honestly have no idea why I’ve been given a second chance at life...’ I look at her. She’s not smiling. Her face is thoughtful and the expression in her eyes is unnerving.
‘How did it happen?’ she asks, not breaking her stare. The question throws me.
‘Why... why d’you want to know?’ I falter.
‘Just curious. Sometimes talking about it can help.’ She shrugs. ‘You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want.’ I think about it. I bring up the day it happened in my memory.
‘I was about to drive home, after a day at uni. The whole day had been awful from start to finish, I was late, I was hungry, I didn’t know what lecture I was supposed to be going to because my timetable got burnt the day before and when I got to the car park, someone threw eggs at my car. I waited ‘til they finished before getting out.
‘I ended up spending the day in the library, trying to do work, but people kept making noise and disturbing me. Name calling and that kinda thing. By the end of the day I was in such a bad mood, I should have just got the bus home or something, but I ended up getting in my car. I couldn’t see properly through all the crap on my windscreen, and I was pretty much blinded with rage. Anyway, I drove off, speeding with impaired vision. Not a good idea, really. I ended up crashing into another car that I didn’t see pulling out of a junction. I don’t think the person in that other car was too badly hurt, I mostly got the back passenger part of the car. I died about ten minutes later, before anyone could pull me out...’ I tail off. It’s not the most intriguing story in the world.
My mood begins to sink further as I realise the way I died was as rubbish and uneventful as the rest of my life...