The Last Day
NOTE: I promise that I’m working on Ashera, but I ran into the problem that I really hate where the story is going right now so I need to rethink some of it, so that may take a little while. For now, here’s another short story brought to you by yours truly!
Landon sat on his front porch, watching the colors of the sunset bleed into the rest of the sky. The oranges mixed with yellows and the yellows with pinks and the punks with purples and the purples with the dimming blue of the sky, creating one beautiful abstract blob of colors. And you wouldn’t even know if you didn’t take the time to pay attention to it.
As he sat there, gazing at the setting sun, he thought back on the day that changed his life. The last day. But not the last. It was hard to explain.
It had started the same as any day. He woke up, got dressed, and drove to his miserable 9-5 job. There, he saw his bigoted boss that he had always wanted to give a piece of his mind. He avoided his long-lasting crush, Ella, and tried to focus on his job. It had been a completely normal day...until….
On the drive home, Landon had lost focus. Instead of focusing on the drive home, he had instead thought of how he despised that he did all of these things. How all he wanted was a life of adventure and to no longer be stuck in this awful purgatory until he had moved on. And he lost focus.
The car came out of nowhere. It struck him on the drivers side, sending him careening off the road.
Everything hurt. You never really imagine what a car crash would be like until you’re in one. Every part of his body felt like it had been crushed by a boulder, in stinging, searing pain, or both.
He barely remembered the ambulance coming, he didn’t even remember anyone calling it. He barely remembered anything at all, actually. He was in so much pain that it was hard to think. The only thing that he did remember was the blinding, flashing lights. And one more thing. When he was being carried away, he got a glimpse of the person who had hit him. He had an awful cut on his head, and the blood from it drenched the whole right side of his face. But he didn’t seem to be in pain. And when Landon spotted him, the man gave him a smile.
Landon laid in the ambulance, rocketing towards the hospital. All of the paramedics beside him were telling him, “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”
But, even then, he knew that they were lying. It was no use. He was going to die here, having accomplished nothing.
Tears stung at his eyes, amidst all of the other pain. He was going to die having not done anything that he wanted to in life. He wanted to quit his job and write a book, give his idiot boss a piece of his mind, tell Ella how he felt. And now he wouldn’t be able to do any of that. He wasn’t ready to die yet. He still had so much left he had to do…
Please, God or Gods or whoever’s up there, he thought. I didn’t have a chance to really live. Please, just give me one more chance.
He didn’t expect anything to actually happen, of course. It was more a last-ditch attempt to make something of himself. But, low and behold, when he closed his eyes, he didn’t die. When he opened his eyes again, he was back in his room. It was 7:00, before any of this-the day, the crash-had occurred.
Even now, Landon couldn’t comprehend what had happened. All he knew was that he had been given a second chance, and he was going to take it.
Landon dressed quickly, not in his normal work attire, but instead in his favorite graphic T-Shirt and jeans. It didn’t matter how mad his boss got, he was quitting anyways.
He went to his freezer and dug out a carton of chocolate ice cream for breakfast. Maybe not the most healthy option, but dammit if he was going to die today then he was going to be happy when he did.
After he was done with his breakfast, he drove to work-blasting 80’s rock through the speakers as he pulled into his parking spot. He didn’t bother to fix his sloppy parking job, he’d only be here for a few minutes anyways.
He strode into the building. As he passed people, he told them what he thought of them, as he’d never see them again in his life. Not the mean stuff, of course, because that’d lower their self esteem and wouldn’t help anyone. Only the things that he had been too afraid to say before, because he thought he’d be seen as awkward or weird. “Hey, Jim, I really love that color on you.” “Kelly you’re one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to work with you.” “Brentan, keep telling jokes-you’re incredibly funny.”
“Frankton, what are you doing?” Landon’s boss, Mr. Peterson, asked him as he walked by. “And why are you not in proper company attire? We’ve talked about this.”
“Oh, you see, Mr. Peterson, I was given an opportunity to fix things. So, I quit.”
“You-I-What?” Peterson asked. “You can’t quit!”
“Funnily enough, I just did.”
“But we need you on the team. These pussies-”
“Uh, I’m going to stop you right there,” Landon said. “You are a disgusting, terrible, vile man and I hope I never have to cross paths with you ever again. Half the things you say are incredibly offensive and the other half are just plain rude. Seriously, get a life.”
“Have a good rest of your day, Sir. Or not. I really don’t care.”
Landon laughed as he strode away, and bumped into Ella. She spilled her coffee all over both of them as his shoulder hit her arm. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry,” he said.
“It’s okay,” Ella sighed. “I just have to go home and change.” Landon gazed at her, an idea forming in his head. “What?”
“Do you want to come with me today?”
“I’m having a me day. Doing all of the things I’ve always wanted to do, you know? Do you want to come?”
“I-I’d get fired-”
“Call in sick,” Landon shrugged.
“If you don’t want to it’s no problem, but-”
“Done,” Ella said.
“I-What?” Landon asked.
“I said done. I’ll go with you,” Ella said, a smile spreading across her face.
“Yeah, let’s do this.”
“Well, awesome! C’mon, I’ll walk you to my car.”
They walked to the sloppily parked car and pulled out of the parking lot. “So where are we going first?” Ella asked.
“Really? You don’t strike me as a tattoo kind of guy.”
“I’ve wanted one since I was a little kid. A sunset, right here on my forearm,” Landon said, showing her. “But my parents never let me get one. They said I’d have to cover it up anyways if I wanted a respectable job,” he sighed, then shook his head. “But I won’t have to worry about that, will I?”
“Never mind. Today I’m finally going to get it done.”
“Well, good for you,” Ella said.
“What about you?” Landon asked.
“What about you? Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do for forever that you’re going to try to get done?”
“Oh, uh, well,” Ella said, blushing.
“Oh come on, you can tell me.”
“I’ve always wanted to learn how to play piano,” she said, looking at the ground.
“Really? That’s awesome!”
“Yeah, but I never had enough time or money to get lessons, so I guess I’m just going to wait.”
“No!” Landon repeated. “Don’t wait! You never get anywhere in life if you wait. I learned that the hard way.”
“There’s plenty of things that you should wait for,” Ella said. “Like, if you’re in a lower level of your field and need to get promoted to get your dream job-”
“That’s different,” Landon said. “You still need to be smart. You shouldn’t be as extreme as what I’m doing right now, of course. But if you’re miserable, you shouldn’t just stay there because your miserable, you know? You should get rid of whatever’s making you that upset! And if you can’t get rid of it, find something to make it more enjoyable. Do what you’ve always wanted to do, say what you’ve always wanted to say. Live every day like it’s your last. Because, someday, it will be.”
“That was beautiful,” Ella said,
Landon laughed. “Thanks,” he said. “Cmon, we’re here.”
A couple hours later, they left the tattoo parlor. Landon had plastic wrapped around his arm, where a new, simple tattoo was placed.
“It looks so cool,” he said, beaming.
“I know,” Ella said. Her stomach rumbled. “Ugh, I’m starving.”
“Let’s go get food, then. My treat.”
“You don’t have to-”
“Trust me, I do,” he said.
They crossed the street to where a new sandwich shop had just been built, ordered, and sat at a table with their food.
“This is really good,” Ella said. “Thank you.”
“My pleasure,” Landon grinned. “Listen, I want to tell you why I really wanted you to come with me today.”
“Well, I’ve had a crush on you for a good amount of time. I wanted to tell you, but I was too scared that you’d hate me or think I was awkward or something like that,” he said. “So, I avoided you. And I’ve always regretted it. So, I wanted to make things right. I really like you, Ella. A lot.”
“Aw Landon,” she said. “I like you too. A lot.”
“Yeah,” she smiled.
“Oh, well, uh-” he stammered, but was cut off my Ella, pressing her lips against his. For a second, he didn’t react because oh my God he was kissing Ella but as she was about to pull away, he deepened the kiss.
When they finally pulled away, gasping for breath, he caught her eye and started laughing. “Damn, I really wish I had told you that sooner.”
“Me too,” she said, going in for another kiss.
After a few minutes of this, he caught sight of a clock on the wall. It was 4:45. “Shit, we’ve got to go,” he said, jumping up. He couldn’t be with Ella when the crash happened.
“Are you okay?” Ella asked him.
“Yeah, I just have somewhere I need to be. Cmon, I’ll drive you back to work and you can grab your car,” he said, leading her to the car.
“Okay?” Ella said. “Will I see you there tomorrow?”
“No,” Landon said sadly, glancing at the ground. “I-uh-I quit.”
“Oh,” Ella said. “Maybe after work then? You can pick me up for dinner? Maybe 7:30?”
“Oh, Ella,” he said. “You have no idea how much I’d love to do that. But I won’t be able to.”
“Okay, maybe Monday?”
“Ella,” Landon said. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to take you for dinner anytime soon.”
“Why not?” Ella demanded. “Do you even like me?”
“We’re here,” Landon said, pulling into the parking lot. “I’m sorry.”
“At least let me give you my phone number so we can make plans later,” Ella said.
“Fine.” Landon handed her his phone and she put her number into it. “I’ll call you later, I guess.”
“Good,” Ella said, giving him a smile. “I’ll catch you later.”
“Yeah,” Landon said sadly, glancing at the time. 4:59. Nine minutes…
Ella gave him a quick peck on the lips. “Bye.”
“Bye,” Landon said. He watched her get into her car and drive away. He sighed and pulled out of the parking lot, making his way down the street. 5:01, 5:04, 5:07…he braced himself…
Landon watched a car speed into another, slightly in front of him. He jumped and hit his brakes, watching the other car fly off the road. It was 5:08.
Landon got out of his car and walked towards the accident slowly. There was a young woman, unconscious in the driver’s seat. A man strode out of the car that had hit her. He looked familiar. Landon didn’t realize why until he made eye contact with the man, and he smiled at him.
Slowly, Landon pulled out his phone. “Hello? 911? Yes, there’s been a crash on Harrison Street…” The whole time he kept eye contact with the man, and when he put his phone away, the man winked at him.
In a daze, Landon walked back to his car and drove home, arriving there without a scratch. He pulled out his phone and dialed a number. “Hey? Ella?” he asked. “Yeah, yeah it’s Landon. I think I’ll be able to make in on Friday. Yeah, plans changed. So I’ll see you at 7:30? Great!”
Grinning, Landon walked to his office and turned on his computer. He pulled up Google Docs and made a new Document. He scrolled to the top, and wrote, “The Last Day”.
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