As I pass the corner store, I shudder, pushing my hands deeper into my pockets as I try to rush past this place. This is where my life changed forever. Right here, on this very spot where my feet seem to stick and I can’t move. Not forward, or back.

I stare, unseeing, out into traffic, feeling the whoosh of air as cars drive by too fast.

“Carlisle!” Esme calls happily as she sees me across the street.

I smile when I spot her waving. I’m tired and on my way home from work. I’m sure Esme’s timed her shopping to coincide with when I’d be passing this way. She always loves those few moments together, just walking.

The light’s red, so I dutifully wait for it to change before crossing. Esme’s standing on the other side, bag of groceries in hand. When the light changes to indicate I can walk, her smile widens. I’m halfway across when I hear it: tires screeching, squealing as someone loses control of their car. People scream, and I call out to Esme to warn her, but it’s too late.

I watch in horror as the car comes racing through the intersection, running a red light, and veers onto the sidewalk and right into Esme, who flies through the air even as the car drives off into the distance.