After Missing Death by 43 Seconds: A Short Story

Missing death by 43 seconds could have inspired Marcos to live life to the fullest. Instead, he became cautious, and, to everyone’s surprise, he started attending church regularly.

He would never know that he missed death by exactly 43 seconds. He soon forgot that 5 other people had died in the car accident. His only priority was to care for the unconscious woman at the hospital.

He now said a short prayer every time he drove out of the house, and he held hands with Lana more than he did before the accident.

Lana, on the other hand, became adventurous. She gained the power to be in two places at once, but she could not tell this to Marcos. He’d tell her that she shouldn’t. What’s worse: he might not believe her.

When the car crashed, Lana saw all of her life before her because she willed herself to see it. She heard that’s what happens when people die, and if she was not having a near-death experience, then this might mean she was already dead.

She wanted to find meaning in the way blood covered Marcos’ body and hers, in the way he called out her name to ask if she was okay, in the way she could not find the voice to answer.

In her mind, she saw everyone who mattered to her: Marcos, her dog Lucky, her auntie and uncle, her best friends, and her annoying twin cousins. She felt it was the right time to say goodbye to them even though they were faraway, even though Marcos looked like he was going to be fine–he was talking after all–which meant she would be okay, too. Despite her agony.

Marcos’ voice startled her. She didn’t notice when he came into the room. She’d fallen asleep sitting on a chair beside the unconscious woman who was lying on a hospital bed.

Marcos sat on a chair on the other side of the bed. He held the woman’s hand in his. Visiting her every day after work had become his ritual.

When he asked, Lana would lie to him and tell him that she’d kept a close eye on the woman all day. He would not want to hear that Lana had left her side even if only to get some air.

Lana being Lana refused to stay in the wheelchair. It was too soon after the accident for Lana to walk even short stretches. She needed to recover.

Marcos went back to work as soon as he’d recovered. Marcos became reserved after the accident: he never explained to Lana why this woman was so important to him. After their near-death experiences, Lana couldn’t find her jealous nature even on the day she heard Marcos tell the unconscious woman, I need you.

Now, they both sat on opposite sides of the woman’s hospital bed during golden hour and for the 100th day in a row.

When Lana gained the power of being in two places at once, she lost her power to speak. She saw Marcos cry throughout the day when he thought no one was looking.

Lana stood up from her chair. She walked toward the woman’s body, her body, and as she did, she looked at Marcos and said, I need you, too. Marcos remained unmoved: his eyes were fixed on the woman’s face, Lana’s face, a face that could be mistaken for a mannequin had the heart monitor not been beeping.

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