Red Lights

Of all the odd habits children develop with their parents, Sam’s was truly peculiar. The rubbery strap of his mother’s wristwatch felt so beefy in between his teeth. The sound of the material’s friction against his canines sent satisfaction through his torso. Sam was the youngest of all Helen’s siblings. Helen thought about her brother Sam often, reporting his 8-year-old jokes to her friends and failing to suppress her most genuine and ugly laugh. She spread this same laugh throughout the halls of her law school study wing often. This laughter is what first entranced her current suitor, Miles. Miles used to anticipate, with admiration, hearing Helen’s laugh every day.
Now, as a couple, they traded many giggles together. The day Helen defeatedly returned Miles affectionate confession of the words, “I love you,” had only been a few days before their current setting. On this night, they held each other, stalling their goodbyes. Standing inside the front door, Helen gloried in the attention she was getting from him. Recently, she had felt many doubts whether his being in love with her was real. His negligence of spending quality time with her was what seeded her doubtful feelings. Helen’s law classes and Mile’s startup company had left them only the weekends open to see each other. Yet, Miles filled his only free time golfing with friends, and the last few weekends Helen had only seen him for a few hours each Saturday evening. Telling herself it was silly to doubt him, she now justified this notion, thinking, “Miles does care; he’s touching and holding me.” As he embraced her near the front door, this is what her mind kept saying.
At last, they parted and walked to their separate cars. Miles was only leaving for a moment, in his black 1996 Toyota truck, to purchase some last-minute groceries and then return home, where they had been spending the evening. Helen, however, was starting her car to return home. Each in their cars, they backed out into opposite directions, slowly watching the other’s car become smaller in their rearview mirrors. Listening to the Christian Radio, Helen slowed to a stop at the red light crossing State Street. Miles read the green luminescent sign “State Street”, as he turned onto it and was now heading towards the store. His speedometer rose steadily, increasing speed. Finally, the light turned green, and Helen lifted her foot from the brake pedal to continue home. She entered the intersection and was fiercely intercepted by a speeding-red-light-runner in his black 1996 Toyota truck, taking her life instantaneously.