Glass in the Trees

"Are you sure you don't want to come with us?" Kira's mother chirped.

"No, mother, I don't want to go! Don't you know what day it is?" Kira Morgan yelled as she stormed out the front door. She ran across her front lawn and into the street with angry tears blinding her eyes. Kira's mother had innocently asked her if she would like to go out to dinner with her grandparents. But the last thing that Kira wanted to do today was laugh and forget everything – forget Lana.

It was a year ago today, Kira thought to herself. It's been a year since Lana died.

Kira stopped running away and stopped at the side of the road to rest. She looked up, and immediately noticed where she was. A few yards away was the site of the accident. The road up ahead took a sharp turn, and continued wandering in the opposite direction. A brand new, sturdy guardrail was near the bend, preventing any other innocent drivers from making fatal mistakes. Beyond the rail was a 150 foot cliff. Kira watched as a car driving by had to brake before they could safely turn the corner. The site was great for taking pictures of the beautiful Colorado scenery, but the scenery was deceptive. The trees below had swallowed up Lana's car.

Kira crept closer to the fatal site, memories beginning to flood her mind. Kira Morgan and Lana Daniels had been best friends since they met in Kindergarten, even if they were polar opposites. Kira was small and delicate, at a height of 5'1" compared to Lana's 5'7". Kira had black hair and dark blue eyes, and loved music. She also preferred holing up in her room reading a good book or practicing her guitar, while Lana got involved with sports, church, work, and multitudes of other friends. But even throughout Lana's busy life, the two girls were able to remain close friends. Kira couldn't remember a single occasion that had any amount of importance where Lana hadn't been there to support her.

Until Ethan showed up, that is, Kira's rebellious mind told her. Ethan Jeremiah Pierce. Kira had been happy when Lana and her best guy friend, Ethan, started going out. Kira was good friends with Ethan too, and thought Lana and Ethan made a good pair. He was good at balancing out Lana's outgoing and enthusiastic personality, and sometimes Kira had good reason to appreciate that.

But after a few months, it seemed that Lana would always be hanging out with Ethan, and never had time to talk with Kira anymore. Lana denied it every time Kira casually brought it up, and Kira didn't care so much as to make a fuss about it. But when Kira finally dug up enough courage to play her guitar and sing in public and Lana nearly didn't show, Kira decided that she needed to talk to Lana.

Kira got to the local coffee shop 45 minutes early to set up. Lana had always been bugging her to show off her musical talent, but she had always blushed and politely refused. But she had finally agreed to perform a half an hour set in the coffee shop, and Lana had promised to come listen. Kira spent her time tuning and running over her six songs. Seven o'clock rolled around, but Lana hadn't shown up yet. Kira procrastinated for a few more minutes, but Lana still didn't show up. One of the coffee shop employees had to tell her to get started.

The stage was small and tucked away in the corner, but Kira wouldn't have been comfortable out in the open. There were a few tables out the small shop, but there weren't very many people there at the time. When she started, her first few notes were shaky and insecure, but soon she became comfortable in the familiar refuge of her music, completely forgetting about her friend's broken promise. Kira looked up in the middle of the set between songs just in time to see Lana's blond head coming through the door, followed by Ethan's brown one. Suddenly she remembered her earlier thoughts, and faltered on her vocal entrance to the next song.

Lana ran up to give Kira a massive hug when she was done playing. "You did so well!" she gushed enthusiastically. "See, I told you that you'd be good!"

"You weren't even there for half of it," Kira replied bitterly.

Lana stepped back, hurt evident in her green eyes. Then she bowed her head in submission. "I know. It's my fault. Ethan and I were out for dinner, and I guess I just lost track of time. I should have been there for you, and I'd understand if you were mad. I'm sorry." Kira ignored her and continued to clean up her equipment, dropping a guitar pick in the process.

Ethan looked at her apologetically. "Don't blame it all on Lana. I lost track of time too, and I know Lana really wanted to be here. She's been telling me about it all week."

Kira shrugged noncommittally. "I think I'm going to get going home now. See you guys later."

Lana hesitated for a minute as Kira headed out the door before running to catch up. "Kira, we need to talk. I know you're mad at me. I'm going to send Ethan home, and then the two of us are going to go somewhere. Are you okay with that?"

Kira shrugged again, which Lana took as assent. A few minutes later, Ethan had gone and Kira and Lana had arrived at Kira's house. Lana asked Kira what was going on, and Kira poured out everything, angrily telling Lana exactly how she was feeling.

"Well, excuse me for spending time with my boyfriend! You're just jealous, aren't you?" Lana yelled back, offended. "I still spend time with you! Yeah, maybe it's not as much, but you're still my best friend, and no guy will ever be able to take me away!"

"You mean no guy will ever be able to take you completely away," Kira corrected. "As long as there's a small piece of you left for me, you think everything's okay! But you spend so much time doing everything else, and I never get to see you anymore!" She shook her head. "Just go. Maybe I won't have anymore time for you either."

"But-" Lana tried to say.

"Just go," Kira said firmly, pushing Lana out the door.

That was the last time Kira ever spoke to Lana. The next day when she woke up, Kira heard the news. Lana's car had been found burnt to a crisp at the bottom of a cliff off of Mountain View Road . Lana broke through the flimsy guardrail and fell the 150 feet, where she hit the bottom and her car caught on fire. It was suspected that Lana fell asleep behind the wheel. There were tracks where someone had obviously been braking hard after the broken guardrail, so it looked as though Lana had woken up when she hit it, but she hadn't been able to brake in time. Suicide didn't look very likely.

Kira broke out of her reverie when she heard footsteps approaching. She glanced behind her and saw Ethan approaching.

"I guess you had the same idea I did," Kira commented softly when he sat down. "I miss her."

"Yeah." The two sat in silence for a while. Kira swore that she could still smell the burning rubber, hear the snap of tree branches as emergency crews dug through the empty shell of Lana's car, and see the sparkling shards of glass winking at her from the trees.

She shook her head to clear the gruesome images. "It was my fault, wasn't it?" she whispered.

Ethan glanced over, startled. "No, of course not. If anything, it was my fault. I got between the two of you, and I should've known that Lana wouldn't go for that."

"But I yelled at her!" Kira screamed. After a pause, she continued, her voice getting quieter with each word. "I yelled at her. Ethan, the last thing I said to her was 'just go.' She must've hated me when she died. I don't want her to hate me." Tears filled her eyes as she remembered their final argument.

Ethan leaned over to give her a hug. "I know, I know. Do you think I don't tear myself up time after time? Do you think that I don't feel responsible?" He sighed. "I do. I really do. Countless what if's play over in my head… I just wish I could've done something to prevent it. I keep seeing her smiling that night at the coffee shop, and then she just fades away." There was a period of silence. "I miss her so much."

"Ethan?" Kira asked timidly. "You know how Lana was always talking about God? Do… do you think that He'd forgive me? Lana would like that."

Ethan looked down at Kira, and smiled the most genuine smile she had seen on him in over a year. "I think she'd like that a lot."

Kira took a moment to bear her soul to God, and soon she felt everything evaporate. She smiled, and felt her smile come from her whole heart, instead of the empty, masking smile she had taken to lately.

Kira turned for one last look as she and Ethan left. As she took in the scenery, she could almost see Lana smiling and laughing with sheer joy. She turned back to Ethan. "I don't think I'll have to come back here anymore. I think… I think I'll be okay."