And Here, I Thought I Had Changed: A Story


Nobody’s coming. I yelled for hours but it’s just getting harder. My lungs are practically getting crushed under the weight of the wreckage. I am the best goddamn driver in the whole of New York. How could I mess this up? I remember talking to Donna once.

‘Listen, don’t get cocky.’

‘Do I ever?’ I asked.

‘You just did.’

‘Alright, alright. I won’t.’

That happened the day before she left me. I guess, I did get cocky. I still wonder if I even deserved a woman like her. She was perfect. And I was absolutely flawed, I am. Soon, I won’t be. Damn it! I screwed up, didn’t I? I should have seen that divider. Even if I do get out of this alive, I’ll be getting sued or worse. I know I’m drunk. Did I have too much? God, I hope I didn’t. I don’t want to be writing check after check because of this mess.

“Help me!” I yell one last time. It seems like that was pretty much all the energy I had left.

I burst into a coughing fit, coughing accompanied by blood.

What does a man think about in his dying moments, I wonder. Does he witness a series of flashbacks? Does he remember the people he loved or the ones he hurt? What does a man think about with his dying breath?

Yes, he thinks about the people he loved and the people he hurt. He imagines a future where he stopped existing. He laments for the people who’ll weep for him. He can’t imagine those people suffering, being miserable. So he decides that he wants to live.

And yes, he is ambushed with all the life choices he has ever made. His good days, the worst days. The smiles he brought about on the faces of the ill-fated. The anguish he caused in the hearts of the few good men. He can’t imagine the pain he caused. So he decides that he wants to die.

If it were in his hands, the guilt alone would kill him.

But it wasn’t in my hands, was it?

I woke up the next day. Turns out that someone had, indeed, heard my cries and that man had saved my life. If someone asks me what I really wanted that night, I would be at a loss for words. Because I know the answer, but do I really? All I know is, I woke up with a burning desire to make amends, so I picked up my phone and called her.

“I’m sorry, Donna. Please, forgive me.”

But I know one thing for sure and no matter how hard I try, it will never change. I did get cocky.

– Rubani Kaur

Photography Credit: Unknown

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