Wil sat, silent, within the careening minivan. She felt detached, a deep well within her own body. Mrs. Crandall could have been driving under the speed limit for once and Wil would not have noticed.
Mrs. Crandall did not attempt conversation, though she did forego her usual phone-browsing and snack-eating. Some part of Wil saw her driver’s eyes flit to the rearview mirror now and then to ensure Wil still sat where she’d first settled. Some other part saw familiar landmarks flash past the moving car. They’d be to their destination soon.
They stopped at a light, screeching. Mrs. Crandall drummed at the steering wheel. With a lurch, she started again. Stop, drum, lurch. Stop, drum, sharp turn; slow, slow -Wil saw they were at the hospital. They stopped again, idling, at the curb before the Emergency Room doors.
Wil’s arms removed her seat belt. Her hands lifted and shifted her weight across the seats to the door. One hand tugged at the door handle and her body stiffened against the cold, cold air that rushed in.
“Wil,” Mrs. Crandall began. Wil turned back, her face impassive. Her wild hair blew in and around dark, hopeless eyes. “Wil, I -”
“Wil,” another voice said. Wil moved against the swirl of hair and wind to face this new voice. She saw Jakob, yet didn’t see him. What was Jakob doing here, calling her by name? He held out a hand and helped her from the minivan. Reaching forward, he closed the door.
“Let’s go, Wil,” he said. He put his arm around his stepsister and cousin. Together, they walked through the automatic doors.
If Wil had looked back, she would have seen her neighbor still idling. She would have found that unusual; might have wondered what gave their ever-racing neighbor reason to pause.
But Wil did not look back.
©2019 Chelsea Owens