Forgiveness by Joseph Burdette Copyright ©2014 Joseph Burdette Marandia Snider was driving down Route 2 towards Parkersburg when the snow started. She hardly noticed, because just five minutes ago at 8:30 her mother called saying to hurry back to the hospital because her brother was getting worse. Jeff Snider was twenty and had leukemia. His illness had taken over him two years ago and had in and out of the hospital pretty much, more or less, ever since. It was killing their mother slowly, her normally brown hair was getting streaks of gray in it and her eyes were dull looking. Sometimes Marandia wondered if she wasn’t trying to go before him. Marandia was worried about Jeff, but such drastic changes to her appearance had yet to affect her. This was hardly surprising seeing how Jeff and Marandia had never gotten along very well when they were younger (Jeff being the eldest by a year), and to be honest, they still didn’t. The snow worsened, making it hard to see very well. Her windshield wipers were moving back and forth like hypnotized snakes, and the car’s headlights only showed more snowflakes falling. A perfect blanket of snow covered the winding road, making this stretch of West Virginia look the way it had before the settlers came. If the State Road had touched any stretch of the highway she would eat her purse. But then what did you expect? Most of them were at home getting ready for Christmas, blissfully unaware that there was someone dying. And more power to them, only Jeff would have the nerve to try and ruin what had been their family’s favorite holiday. Only a true prima donna would exist the world on Jesus’s birthday. The thought made her sigh. A real sister wouldn’t be so petty, but she couldn’t stop her feelings any more than she could stop this Christmas snow. She and Jeff always fought, over toys, television shows, bikes, about who did what, when, and where. Sometimes it got so bad they started slap fighting, and wouldn’t speak to each other for weeks at a time. Their dad said it was normal for kids to fight, their mom always disagreed, and only when it got so bad that they drew blood he put a halt to it. Marandia, for the most part regretted the fights, most of them were stupid, and now she could see in Jeff’s eyes that he did too. She had always wanted to say that she was sorry, but her pride always stopped her. Now she just hoped that she got there in time, in spite of her annoyance at the time and place. The wind picked up as she got near Parkersburg, it made the Ohio River ripple with waves and the snow on the windshield worse. Just as she made a turn just outside of town, a deer jumped out onto the road. Barely seeing it, she swerved the car to the right and hit the guard rail hard enough to break its foundations. The front end of the car hung over the waters of the mighty Ohio, and she hit her head on the wheel. The world went away for a moment and she swam in a misty void, but then her head cleared. Her face was wet with blood and she had to wipe it out of her eyes to see. But seeing what she saw made her wish she hadn’t. The car was sliding down off the hill, and would dump into the river. “Oh God no, please,” she begged. Suddenly, the front of the car lifted up, and the car backed out onto the road. A blinding light shone in through the window that made her cover her eyes. “Marandia?” a voice said. She looked up, her head, hurt very badly but she knew that voice like she knew her own name. “JJeff?” she asked weakly. Jeff was floating over the hood of the car. He was surrounded by a prism like light, red, yellow, blue, green, white, brown, and orange all flashed around him. “You’ll be okay now,” Jeff said. “Sorry I was so late.” “S-so late?” she asked, shocked. “Look at the clock on the dashboard.” he said.