"It's funny you know, meeting you here of all places," she said to the murderer of her sister.
It was a warm autumn evening and hues of red, orange, yellow and gold filled the surroundings and painted the sky. She was at May's grave, autumn was her late sister's favourite season. But Alice hated the warm colours that were around her. She preferred the cool and white winter.
But she loved her sister very much and her loss was something she was still recovering from, even after 5 years. She never thought she'd meet the bastard that hit May with his car; standing there, crying.
Max was a middle-aged man with glasses, he was drunk and didn't see May when she was crossing the road. He had run away after, but Alice was there and she had seen his face. She was too shocked to report him to the police, and by the time it all sank in, there really was no point. This was the first time she had seen him since he killed her sister. But she was not angry, just hateful.
The man looked at her, startled when she spoke. He started at her blankly then dropped his gaze and said,
"If you want me to confess to the police then I will. I hope you know I didn't mean to-"
"Oh but she's dead nonetheless now, isn't she?"
He flinched at the sharpness of her words and whimpered. He broke out in a sob within seconds and fell to his knees.
"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean it! I didn't see! It's all my fault! I should have got a cab! I have stopped drinking ever since! I can't sleep! I'm so sorry!!"
Alice met his broken sobbing eyes and knew he meant it. But it wasn't enough.
"There's an organisation that is dedicated to helping and saving families and orphans who have lost their loved ones thanks to drunk drivers. I want you to donate and volunteer there. It's called "A Second Hope". Just google it and you'll find it."
He stood up, sniffing and shaking and asked, "If I do, will you forgive me? "
"No, but you might just be able to forgive yourself."
"I don't think that will work," he said sadly.
"How will you know unless you try?"
"I did! But founding 'A Second Hope' did not help! I still have nightmares!",
He sobbed again.
She stood there stunned for a minute, then smiled and said,
"You cannot change what has been done, you took away the world from someone, that someone being me. But you have also saved the lives of so many! You have helped them overcome what happened to them! I can't forgive you just yet. But I think May is happy knowing what you have done. Also, I don't think she is mad at you either."
The man wiped his tears with a chuckle when he heard those words, he gave Alice a bow and asked her to visit his organisation sometime. She said she would and the man left.
She put the white lilies she had got on the grave and sat there leaning on it. She spoke softly, more to herself than the man who had left,
"She was on drugs. She crossed when the light was green. And I let her.... I think I'm to blame just as much as you... But like I said, I can't change the past, at least I can make someone else’s life better. At least I can try."
She had been the most prominent donor of 'A Second Hope'. She was the reason Max's dream became a reality.
Editor: Charu Sabharwal