5 Minutes (Prologue and First Chapter)

September 1, 2008

I’m no child. But I have yet to think of myself as an adult. 20 years-my only 20 years-has gone by too fast. However, those 20 years seem exceptionally slow when I think about 5 minutes, the 5 minutes that have changed my life, and others, forever. It is only when I think of those five minutes that I can-and have to-think of myself as an adult.


It was like any other normal winter day. College let out for a few weeks, and I was free to do anything I wish. My typical day consisted of running for some coffee, going to the gym, and then sitting by my corner window finishing some books, and if I was lucky, watching the snow fall. It was 8, and I decided to go to get some coffee early…I usually went at 9. I had an apartment in a little town in upstate New York. Nearby my apartment was this old family-owned bakery that made the best coffee I have ever tasted. Needless to say I got addicted. My car, parked in the small parking lot that was barely enough for all of the cars, was located in the very back corner. It looked very new and expensive next to some of the cars parked around it. I still remember my parents getting me that Honda Civic back in January as my birthday present. I walked up to the car, and slid my hand across the silver hood. It still felt like new. As I climbed in, I specifically remembered glancing up at the digital clock. It was 8:02. I’ll make it to the bakery in 5 minutes, I thought. It was so natural backing out of the parking lot that I barely realized I was doing it. I was too busy thinking about my outfit I guess. I went shopping that week, and I was all dressed up; I didn’t really care that I was only going to the bakery. I was wearing a red quarter-sleeved turtleneck and black pants with a flare leg. The pants met up with the turtle neck at the perfect point, only showing barely a millimeter of my stomach. I was very snug and warm in my car. It was hard to remember that it was a mere 35 degrees outside. At the corner of the main street in town, Franklin Street, I got stopped by a red light. This light was infamously long. I timed it once, just for fun, and it was slightly longer than 3 minutes. Those minutes felt like a lifetime…usually.

I often thought about a lot in those 3 minutes. But, and I don’t exactly know why, today I didn’t think at all. Only about how I was craving that cup of coffee. The light seemed longer than usual, and my patience was wearing thin. I tapped my nails on the steering wheel to pass the time. I even made up a song to entertain myself. It sounded a lot like Ode to Joy. Soon, when in the few seconds I got bored with that, I decided to focus on the light in front of me. It was bright, and I could see the texture of the inside of the red screen. I never noticed that before. I was focused too intently on the light that I didn’t realize my hands had now clasped tightly around the wheel. My reflexes were ready to take over when the green light finally lit up. I wouldn’t say I was going any faster than the other cars usually go, or that I was faster at pushing the gas pedal to glide forward. But that wouldn’t have mattered anyway. I only turned my head once to look at the other side of the road when the light suddenly turned green. But that one glance was more than enough. I didn’t even have time to scream before that car-I do remember it was a bright shade of blue-rammed into the passenger side of my car. It happened so fast that I can hardly remember it, not that I want to remember anyway. My head jerked suddenly away, and some of the glass from the passenger side window flew at my arm. I only looked slightly, but at that moment I couldn’t quite distinguish the red of my turtleneck from the red blood that was flowing down. My hips, though not injured, were already sore and bruised from the moment when my whole side pushed up against the door. The car lock pushed hard into my skin, but I was too numb to feel anything. I did notice though, that I was crying. My tears were mixed with dirt and snow that had skidded through the window when the collision took place.

Everything was changing, and it was so crystal clear all of a sudden. I could see every little thread of my clothes, and every little thing seemed excruciatingly important to me. I remembered that I forgot to get a gift for my mother’s birthday a few days ago, and I felt so bad about it. I also thought about all of the things that I have yet to accomplish in my life…and I knew I had to get out of this nearly crushed car of mine. Yes, my mind was clear, but my body wasn’t. I had noticed that I began to slump downward toward the steering wheel and every time I tried to move myself gently upward I would barely move at all. It felt so odd that I was not consciously aware of what my body was doing, and I was not in control of it either. Though I was still numb, the pain slowly began creeping it’s way toward my arm. I tried to look at it, but my head didn’t move. My eyes were too heavy to open, I hadn’t realized until then that they were closed. It still felt like I could see everything. My life was going so incredibly slow and so painfully fast at the same time that my head began to throb at the thought of it.

I didn’t really know what was happening then. It was a blur, not so much fast, but my worn out and tired eyes only caught certain aspects of the ever changing scenes before me. The first glimpse I caught was a truck with flashing lights. I wasn’t exactly sure if it was an ambulance or a police car. I wasn’t in my car anymore, and a group of men in blue suits rushed around me like bee’s around a hive. I could see outside the window that my car was completely ruined, as was the others. I didn’t really care about my car, or the blue car. I did though, want to know if the other person was okay. But that was all I could think for the 15 seconds my brain worked with my body. I was aware still, to an extent. I knew abruptly when the new car I was in started and stopped, and I knew when I was being carried into the hospital.

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artofthedeath said...
Sept. 23, 2008 at 12:21 am
it's good... nice... but... the quality could have been better. I mean, that takes hard, long practice... but that's all you need to work on. You'll understand soon. Write for about 6 months, and then, come back to this story. You'll see what I mean.
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