Meg was luckier — but far from lucky. Dustin pushed his friend’s hair from her face as American pop star Adam Levine’s voice streamed from the stereo inside the wreck. Blood leaked from a laceration on her chin. Skin had ripped off her right arm, baring part of the muscle.
But the worst damage was on the inside. Her skull had fractured. Blood was clotting on her brain.
A helicopter flew her to a hospital, where surgeons removed part of her skull to relieve the pressure from her swelling brain and purge the clot.
Meg had been due back in Boston in a few days. She’d sent ahead an early Mother’s Day bouquet of lilies, tulips and roses, promising a celebration when she got home.
Instead, her parents had boarded a flight to New Zealand. Mother’s Day melted away as they prayed their daughter wouldn’t die.
Meg climbed the front steps, one at a time.
Four baby steps, with her mother poised to catch her.
“You gotta use the railing.”
When Meg had pictured coming home to Salisbury, she expected a trip from the airport, not the hospital.
But there was comfort in the kind of rewind that comes with a return to a childhood bedroom and a family cat’s meow.
“See, Charlie’s waiting for you,” Meg’s mom said.
“I know, adorable kitty.”
It was early August. Meg finally took a seat at her family’s kitchen table again.
Reminders of the accident were all around. There was a second bannister along the stairs to her room, and support bars in the bathrooms. But Meg could start showering by herself in a special chair. She could shave, too.
Meg had planned to move into a city apartment and start a summer internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers when she came home. Instead, her parents would drive her to Boston a couple times a week for therapy.