01-27-2017 | Andrea Johnson

Kane runs into the living room, yelling  and flailing his arms as I chase him around the house. He makes a sudden turn and smacks right into the hallway wall. He gets up, and continues to run as if nothing had happened. He flashes a bright smile at me, as he yells: “Come chase me, Auntie!”

For the past four years of his life, Kane has been a daredevil. He has spent a lot of time climbing anything that looked possible to scale, and then jumping off anything that he climbed. Yet, he always seemed to come out unscathed. Kane has been indestructible since his time in the womb – always bouncing back from any accident.

My sister has always had her hands full with Kane, but motherhood seemed to come naturally to her. Erica has always been quiet, and mature for her age. It is hard to believe my sister and I are related due to how different we are in personality. She has always stuck to herself, never discussing or sharing too much of her personal life.

But in a small town, it’s hard to keep anything personal. Her pregnancy was shocking, but with time, it turned into excitement and ended up creating the best bundle of joy in our family. A bundle of joy that could have been taken away from us one afternoon in the amount of time it takes to send a text while driving.

“A bundle of joy that could have been taken away from us one afternoon…”

The sports highlights from the previous night play on the television as I lay on the couch in the living room after school. The telephone starts to ring and I consider just letting it go to voicemail. I silently judge myself for being lazy, and walk across the room to the kitchen to answer it. As soon as the phone is pressed against my ear, I can hear crying and hysterics. I hear Erica’s voice.

“Give the phone to mom,” she cries. Her voice shakes as I can hear her hysterical sobs on the other end of the line.

My head begins to spin. My sister doesn’t cry easily. It must be something awful.

“Mom isn’t home. What’s going on, Erica?” I ask. A million scenarios start to run through my head as I try to figure out why she is so upset.

She ignores my question and continues to ask where my mom is. After repeating that mom isn’t home, she finally says it.

“I got hit”.

I immediately freeze. For a second, I could not move, think or breath. The baby. Erica is six months pregnant. My thoughts turn dark, but I attempt to hold my emotions together for my sister’s sake.

“I was driving and I got hit from behind,” she explains through her heavy breathing and sobbing.

“Where are you?” I calmly ask, hoping that my voice doesn’t give away the panic I’m feeling.

“At the end of the driveway.”

I run to the window, trying to see if I can see anything but my house is surrounded by trees. All I can see is the small piece of the highway in the distance. I see my dad in the driveway, and I yell to him to tell him what happened. He starts to run down our gravel road, down the hill and around the corner to the end of our driveway. I want to follow him but he insists that I stay behind at the house. I calm my sister down as much as I can until she has to hang up.

img_0088As I put the phone down, I stare out the window to look for any kind of clue or hint that would give me an update. My view of the accident is covered by full, green pine trees. All I have is my imagination to picture what is going on at the end of the driveway.

I picture my sister’s green Dodge Neon car, hood first in the ditch. I hear sirens as I picture the ambulances and police cruisers arrive with their lights flashing. I picture my dad holding my sister’s hand as she lay on a stretcher. I can’t bear to think about the health of the baby.

I could have been standing there for minutes, but it felt like hours had passed. Finally, I see my dad running back towards the house. I feel as though my feet are cemented to the floor, as I continue to look through the window when my dad enters through the side door. I feel numb as I hear him say that she will be okay. My heart sinks when he says that they need to check on the baby at the hospital.

So many questions continue to run through my head. What caused the accident? When will she be home? What can I do to help? But I know the answer to the last question. There’s nothing I can do, but wait. I look out the window as I hear the sirens grow quiet until there is no sound at all. I stare out through the trees as I wait for my sister to come home.

I chase Kane down the hallway. He dashes into his room and giggles as he hears me approaching. I run in and jump on his bed, scooping him into my arms. He continues to laugh uncontrollably as I hold him close. It makes it hard to wonder how different life could have been because of the urge to text while driving.