A car accident in Boston , 2009. 6 years ago.
The doorbell rang. 28-year-old Noah was eating a smoked-salmon bagel, and in the shock of the moment, dropped it onto the floor. He swore. Muttering to himself, he went to the door and opened it. His best friend, Mason, pounced on him, and started to kiss him, pulling him in close, murmuring the things he wanted to do to Noah. He smelled of beer. Noah fought to push him off him, and eventually succeeded. Mason fell back against the floor and sulked. He looked at Noah in anger.
"What the actual fuck." Mason grumbled.
"Dude, I'm not gay..." Noah looked at him, expecting a response.
"Please. Everyone knows you are. You haven't dated anyone since you came here 6 years ago. Haven't slept with anyone that we know of. Have shown zero interest in anybody".
"So that makes me gay?".
"It's the only answer we could come to." Mason shrugged. "If you aren't then why haven't you done... ANYTHING with anyone..."
Noah looked at him for a long moment, as if he was about to say something, but then changed his mind. "It doesn't matter."
Mason jumped up. "Hey!!. You know can tell me anything... right?"
"That was before you started snogging me."
Noah went into the kitchen. The tiles were sparkling white, the cupboards a matte texture, and the windows were spotless. The glass table in the centre of the room had a cup and a plate, neither fully finished and yet Noah was not hungry anymore. He sat on one of the chairs, knees shaking slightly. Mason followed suit. He stared at Noah expectantly.
Noah took a deep breath.
"It was October 17th, 2009. I was driving to Boston from Dallas, and it had been a long day. My girlfriend of 17 months, Claire, was sitting the passenger seat, eating cherries. She loved them more than anything. We were going to Boston to meet up with the rest of our friends at the time, at the high school where we all met. We were on the highway, about an hour to go before we got into the city. We had been joking about one of our friends, Sam, because when he was 16 he started drinking Vodka, always telling us it was water. He had been clean for 3 months, or so he said. It was raining heavily, as it always was in Massachusetts, and we were singing Beyonce at the top of our lungs."
Mason looked at Noah, holding his breath. He had picked up the bagel and started eating it. Noah continued.
"Up ahead of us, about 4 cars in front, a car swerved. A cat had streaked across the road and in panic the driver lurched his wheel. He skidded into the next lane, straight into another car. Within seconds, we were swerving around it, but it was impossible to avoid. We crashed into the first car and i lost focus for a minute. Once i regained my sight, i looked over at Claire. A tiny bit of panic was in her eyes. We were in a pile up and from the sound of things, it was getting bigger. We argued about whether or not we should get out of the car, it was stopped by a car crashing into us. The driver went through his windscreen and landed on the roof of our car. Claire screamed in terror. I looked up in fear, but stopped at the rear-view mirror. A truck was coming down the highway. The driver must have known he could not have avoided the cars, and yet he swerved. The side of the truck came into view, and swung like a baseball bat into the people who had got out of their cars. It was clear to anyone who had seen it they were killed instantly. To make it worse, the truck fell on its side, crushing Several of the cars behind us. I tried to relax. The truck had blocked most of the incoming traffic, which meant we would be safe. I thought that far too soon."
Mason had one bite left of the bagel and was holding it just out of reach of his mouth, entranced by the story. A tear began to trickle down his face as he recalled what had happened.
"One of the cars behind the truck had not been expecting a pile-up. The driver had braked, which actually made his situation worse. The car soared over the truck, and as he braked in mid hair, did a nose dive. I remember the brand of the car, it was a mini cooper. It was a dark green color, and it wad heading straight at us. At the last second, i thought it would hit the car in front of us, but to no avail. It landed on Claire's side of the car. I heard her scream in pain and instinct caused me to scream too. I screamed though i was unscathed. The car had crushed her, but not killed her instantly. She lay there, her breathing coming in quick, jerky gasps. She knew she was dying and that i could not help her. So she jerked out her hand. She whispered for me to hold it and i did with both hands. She started crying, then looked down, and saw the cherries. I followed her eyes and picked one out of the packet and broke off the stem. She sucked on it, swallowed and winced. Then, realizing she had mere moments left, started to speak.
"Noah, please..." she coughed blood. My eyes gazed into hers, and she spoke her last words to me.
"Never forget... never forget me... never... forget... us..."
Her eyes went dark. Her hand went limp in an instant. I gawped at it and choked out a sob. She lay there, with cherry juice on her lips. I remember deciding that it was cherry juice and not the alternative."
Noah was fully crying now, struggling to continue. However, he knew he had to finish.
"94 people died in that car accident. On the news, a simple list of the dead was put up. Claire was number 41. The 41st death. I can never forget her. I will never forget my Claire. I will also never forget how deadly a mini cooper can be."
He ran out of the room, wailing. Mason sat at the table, stunned. He looked down in shame of what he had assumed. He noticed something he had never noticed before.
The only fruit in the fruit bowl were cherries.