Sunrise announced a bright spring morning. The night just faded into another day, and the cars and trucks had already taken over the highway. When he woke up, Nick made some coffee and watched the city landscape from his window. The hot potion of freshly grinded beans made him ready for another workday. He had to hurry, though, because it took him twenty minutes to get to the post office, and his shift was to start in fifteen.
He worked as a long distance postman, which meant that he had a car that he drove all across the province and delivered all kinds of packages. In this era of technology, people used post office just for paying bills, but there was still a spark of the old days in his job. And Nick liked his job. He liked cars and driving, too, so it was both business and pleasure. He almost went to every town in the province. That’s why today was so important. He was supposed to go to a town in the north, the only town that he was missing on his post transportation list. Nick put on his uniform, his favorite dark blue one, and went to the post office.
The package that he was to transport was small, wrapped in grey paper. Judging by its shape and edges, Nick deduced that it was probably a collection of books. As his colleague told him, a man left it and addressed it to a lady, drawing a heart next to her name. Was it a gift? Or was it just returning some property which was left behind after a break up? Nick asked himself all those questions holding the package in his hands, but he never went too far. He would never violate clients’ privacy.
Nick started the engine and left the post office garage. He was a careful driver, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t fast. Far from speeding, but he knew a couple of tricks. If there was a traffic jam, he would always find his way around it. Quite soon, he was on the highway, with all the freedom that three lanes had to offer. Occasionally he would pass by a bus, or another car, with childish pride growing inside of him.
He moved to the third lane, closer to the fence separating the two directions of the highway. It always fascinated him how all the drivers going in opposite directions would share a moment together, a moment in which they would be directly and completely next to each other, and only the fence would stand between them. It would last less than a second, but in that second, Nick quite enjoyed to look at those other drivers, to examine their expressions. Sometimes, they would look at him as well, and they would share a brief nod, or a smile. How curious it is, two lives interact with each other in a split second. Like two lines meeting at one point, and then moving on, further away from each other. Nick often tried to imagine what the life of the other drivers were like. Were they happily married? Happily divorced? Were they thinking about their work and how to pay their monthly bills or were they daydreaming about the skin of their lovers? Nick always tried to read as much as possible from their faces. It wasn’t always easy. And it wasn’t always happiness that he saw. Their sadness made him sad as well, and he would wonder what made their faces grim. He must have seen thousands of faces so far. Each one of those were unique and interesting in their own right, unforgettable.
Then he noticed it. A billboard about traffic safety. There was always some poster on that billboard, but this one was the first which wasn’t an advertisement, or an announcement of an upcoming sports event. This was a warning, and a recommendation. Drive carefully, drive responsibly. Don’t jeopardize yourself and others in traffic. Be careful. Nick looked at the billboard and saw a young woman’s face bellow all the titles. One half of her face was looked usual. Her smile was wide and sincere, and her black hair was touching the outside line of her cheek. She looked friendly, lively. But, the other side of her face was covered in blood, and deep cuts. It was almost damaged beyond recognition. The smile was gone, and there was a swollen, red bruise around her eye. Her jaw was broken, and the bone was sticking out of the ripped tissue. On one side, she was happy, playful, and full of life. She looked like she was about to go for a night out with her friends. And on the other side, she was a wreck, as if that night out went in a wrong direction.
Nick looked at the billboard attentively, as he was getting closer to it. The warning was written in bright green letters, taking up the majority of the poster. There were letters both above and below the young woman, surrounding her like an inevitable life lesson that no one wanted to learn from personal experience. Nick was always wanted to be the responsible driver on the road. He knew when to increase his speed, and when to slow down. He actually never had a car accident in his life. The billboard was well thought out. It will definitely raise awareness. It’s most useful, especially for young drivers. They are the ones who put themselves in danger. When so many young people lose their lives, it’s reasonable to put such a billboard on a highway, for everyone to see it. Drive carefully, drive responsibly. Don’t jeopardize yourself and others in traffic. Be careful. Nick looked at the billboard and smiled. He never detected a truck coming on his right, and drove his car directly into it. It was a full force impact, car’s roof completely broke while the vehicle was going under the truck. Every window was shattered, and the glass exploded in every direction. Nick was dead before he even realized what happened.