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"I Wanna Rock and Roll..."
“I wanna rock and roll, all night!” My dad has a horrible singing voice, yet he insisted on putting on this classic rock, which is I can barely listen to in the first place anyway, and then he sang along and made it that much worse. He’s lucky he’s my dad or I would have never been seen with him. “And party everyday!” and, of course, Justin had to go and encourage him. Justin’s a cute kid and everything, but he really needed to grow up. He was six, for God’s sake! I don’t even remember why I agreed to go fishing that day. I knew it was going to rain, and now we were stuck in traffic on Route 12, three hours from home, and that was without an eighteen-wheeler jackknifed across the road.
It was so hot in the car. My dad’s old ’94 Corolla was overheating, so he had to have the heat turned all the way up. I told him he should turn off the radio too, but he didn’t listen. I wanted to roll down my window, but the pouring rain outside forced me to reconsider. We were inching down the road, and inching closer to insanity. After we had been at a standstill for almost an hour and a half, the traffic started moving again.
“Finally!” my dad said with mock enthusiasm. I drifted to sleep nuzzeling the arm rest for the small bit of comfort I could find.
“Daddy, I have to pee.” Effing Justin. He woke me up about two and a half hours later.
“We’re almost home, sport.”
“I have to pee now!”
“Okay, okay, I’ll stop first chance I get.”
My dad took the next exit, with a very annoyed look on his face. He pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot at about five-thirty. We went inside, and Justin and my dad went to the bathroom. I went to go get some food.
“Can I help you, sir?”
Holy crap. I looked down from the menu hung above the service counter and my eyes met the most beautiful pair of stunning green eyes that I had ever seen. It was all I could do not to let my jaw drop. I could not look away from those eyes. I couldn’t even drop my line of vision to read her name tag. It said Emily, but she had to actually tell me, rather than me reading it. I turned on the charm, and after placing my order, she gave me a receipt, with ten digits on the back. She went on break, and we ate together. We got to talking and I learned more about a woman in that short amount of time than I had in hours with others. She was beautiful. I almost cried when my dad said we had to get going. He bought Justin a happy meal, and we headed on our way.
I called her the second we got home. I went up to my room and lay on my bed and I punched in her phone number. Even the numbers looked pretty. Ring. I could barely wait. Ring. I had butterflies in my stomach. Ring. What was I going to say? Ring. My stomach dropped. Ring.
“Hello?” Her voice was cute, even on the phone.
I hung up.
I lay there for a few moments, staring at the ceiling, wondering what I had just done. My eyes lost focus, and I started daydreaming about those eyes and the beautiful girl behind them.
“I’ve become so numb...” My ringtone went off and I was ripped back into reality. I practically dove across my bed to my desk. It was her.
We talked for hours, or at least I think we did. I don’t know how long I talked to her. It felt like minutes but it could have been days. We talked about all sorts of things. We both listened to rock music. We even shared the same favorite band, Avenged Sevenfold. We both loved a good action movie that could leave our adrenaline pumping. She even liked Call of Duty, my favorite video game. She eventually said she had to go to bed. We agreed to meet the next day for lunch.
We saw each other almost every day for weeks. I would go and see her at work, joining her for her breaks. We would go to the movies, mostly seeing action movies, but I would suffer through the occasional chick flick for her. We would go to my house and watch movies, though mostly we just “watched” them. I set her as speed dial number one in my cellphone. She practically became part of my family, eating dinner at our house every day that we saw each other. She even stomached my dad’s cooking without a complaint and even called him Dad. My dad loved her, and constantly talked about how much he wished my mother could have met her. She helped Justin with his math homework, a job I never did. Justin even said he wished that Emily was his brother instead of me. She was amazing. I could feel myself falling for her.
When we had been dating for one month, I decided to tell her I love her. Me, Justin, and my dad were going fishing again, and I knew she was going to be working at the time, so I thought I could surprise her at work. The night before, I was so excited I could barely sleep. It was going to be exactly our one month anniversary when I told her. I had never thought that way about any other girl. It was incredible.
We left early the next morning. Justin slept most of the way to the lake, and me and my dad talked a lot about baseball. I was defending my Red Sox from his attacks as he came up with excuse after excuse about how his Yankees were better. The old man actually thought that Mike Mussina was a better closer than Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon had more saves in his rookie year than anyone else, and in that rookie year had more saves then Mussina had the same year. Yeah, right. He was hopeless.
We got to the lake just after dawn, and spent most of the morning fishing. Well, Justin and my dad did. I sat in the boat with my line in the water, but I was only thinking about those eyes. Justin landed a bass about as big as him, and my dad caught a few that weren't quite as big. We threw them all in the cooler and headed back. I was tired, and made my dad promise that he would stop at McDonald’s and wake me up. I slowly slipped into dreamland.
I woke up when my dad swore violently at a passing driver. He swerved as the car clipped us, and we went sliding across the wet road, it had started raining. We hit a big eighteen wheeler, which jackknifed, and threw our little car at the guardrail. We hit it and flipped. I closed my eyes.
I heard a loud crunch and slowly opened my eyes. My head felt heavy and the world looked strange. I blinked a few times, attempting to refocus my eyes, before realizing we were upside down. I looked up at the ceiling and saw Justin’s Donald Duck toy from a Happy Meal, he had gotten weeks before. I looked back at him, and he was crying, a wet spot growing in the front of his shorts. “It’s ok, buddy.” I reached back and rubbed his knee with my bloody hand. Why was my hand bleeding? I looked closer and it and I didn’t see any scratches or scrapes. I looked around for the source of the blood.
I could see the darkness of the night outside, lightly lit by the headlights of cars that had pulled over, their cargo spilling over, rushing to help us. Lightning split the sky and illuminated a thick path of matted grass back up to the bent guardrail. The rain fell noisily all around us, thunder shaking the ground and increasing Justin’s tears. I looked back to the inside of the car, finding the source of the blood -- my dad’s head. Oh sh**! There was a spiderweb looking crack on the windshield that had obviously stopped my dad’s head. I tried to support his head as to not damage his neck any more. “Dad? Dad!” He wasn’t responding.
I went for my seatbelt, but it was jammed. I tried to slip around it, but my leg had been pinned between my seat and the door. How had I not noticed that? It didn’t even hurt. I heard someone shaking my dad’s door, trying to get us out, but it must have been smashed in, bent until it couldn’t open. I saw someone’s face appear at the window, using their hands to tell me to cover my face. I covered my dad’s, yelled for Justin to cover his, and then looked away. A foot came through the window, and with it the sounds of chaos from the people outside.
I heard the whine of a siren, and saw an ambulance and a fire truck burning down the street into my vision. They screeched to a halt right next to us. I saw an army of yellow jackets and red helmets running towards me. One of the firemen knelt down next to the door looking in through the broken window.
“It’s gonna be all right, son,” he said in a reassuring tone, which somehow made me feel better. I hadn’t noticed, but my heart was racing. My brother sniffled, drawing the attention of the fireman. The look on his face told me that he was just discovering Justin was even in the car. The other firemen brought a stretcher to the window and slid it inside. The fireman who had been reassuring us climbed inside next to the stretcher and gently slid my dad from his seat onto the board, strapping him down.
“We’re set inside.”
My father disappeared from my sight. The fireman turned back to me. “Okay, boys, now we are going to need some cooperation from you two.” I heard a popping noise, and the fireman slid outside and stood up. I heard him turn and yell “Fiyarrrr!!” back up the bank. He came back into view, his face growing sweaty and the reassuring tone gone from his voice.
“What’s your brother's name?”
“Justin. What’s going on?”
“It’s going to be all right. Can you talk to Justin and make sure he trusts us?”
I pushed down my own fears and reassured Justin that the fireman were there to help us and that they would get him to Dad. I told him that Dad was fine, inside praying it to be true, and told him he had to go with the nice men to make sure he’d be all right too. I heard a crunch of metal as the firemen plied the back door open. Justin was still crying, but he didn’t resist to the firemen taking him out of the car.
“It’s gonna be all right, buddy.” I yelled after him.
Over the thunder, I heard Justin yelling my name as they took him up to the waiting ambulance.
The fireman slid back into the front, and starting telling me how strong I was being, and how I was a great son and brother. His eyes kept flicking to my leg stuck in the door, and I knew he knew I wasn’t going anywhere soon. I saw the other firemen holding back the crowd, while a few brought a stretcher down towards the car, that I knew was for me.
“He’s stuck!” The fireman yelled out the door.
A few firemen ran back to the fire truck and brought down what I assumed was the Jaws of Life. They ran around to my side of the car, and I heard them cut down the giant oak that my door had slammed into, causing the damage that had pinned me in. They then began working on my door.
I began to feel my head grow heavy and felt myself losing consciousness. I told the fireman about my head and he said that it was normal, and that everything would be fine. I heard the buzz of the saw cutting through the side of the car, and as I passed out I heard someone yelling something I couldn’t make out. As my eyes shut, I saw the fireman leaving the car, and heard the buzz shut off. I passed out, but as I lost consciousness, I thought I heard screams from the gathered people. I thought I heard the fire ignite the gas tank. I thought I heard the explosion the consumed the whole car.
What I did know was that the last thing I looked at was that stupid Happy Meal toy, but the last thing I saw were those stunning green eyes.
What I didn’t know was as the firemen pulled my body out of the flaming wreckage there was one new text message on my cell phone.
“I Love You.”