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I walked out of my room slamming the large, white door on the way out. I walked into the kitchen and saw my wife, Caroline, waiting for me. She was eager to give me a large hug and kiss and I groggily hugged her, shutting my eyes while loosely wrapping my large arms around her. She looked beautiful. She was wearing a bright red dress with outstanding four inch heels and mascara, she rarely wore makeup. When she let go I clumsily fumbled for the coffee on the counter only to watch as it toppled to the ground with a large bang. Boom! The mug shattered and the hot liquid rolled down my chest, and I erupted in a long screech of pain. I hurried to take off the clothes and ran to the shower, turned the knob to cold, and jumped over the granite sill. I stumbled, falling in fully clothed. When out of the shower I had to change quickly or I knew I would face consequences for being late to work.
The day had started tough and I had a sickening feeling not much would change. I was right, my car wouldn’t start I tried and tried to turn it over but the Mustang’s engine kept making sounds of defeat; slowly cranking over just to die down. I pushed the troublesome Ford down the winding driveway until I finally reached a spot where I could pull the car to the side. I ran back up the driveway and started my show car a 1979, Camaro Z28. I started the car and the engine roared to life, I slammed the car into reverse and hit the gas. I sped down Old Pine Road and across the long, intricate bridge. Suddenly I saw panic up ahead as a long metal rod fell from beneath the towering structure. The bridge began to shake and cracks began to spider web across the black asphalt. The bridge shook and I could only watch in agony as cars toppled down, crushed by the large structure overhead as their cars plummeted down and sunk into the abyss. I jumped out of my car and watched as it slid off the bridge with little chunks of asphalt coming with it as it nose dived into the water. All I could do is watch for the edge of the road and hope that the ground from under me would not expel me to the treacherous waters below.
The blood on my cut arms and legs began to bleed from my many wounds, my clothes were ripped, my dignity was shattered like broken glass, and tears slowly rolled down my scraped face, mixing with the blood before dripping onto the cracked cement. I tried to warn cars I yelled and screamed but as brakes slammed all I could do is watch in despair as cars began rear ending each other, until the cars in the front slid off the bridge to be consumed by the blue waters below. I watched in horror I tried to save a young boy but he could not escape the car quick enough, the seatbelt stuck. I ran to save him only to arrive seconds late and have to watch the car plunge into the waters below. Nothing I could do would help the traffic was backed up for miles with no stopping distance the cars just quickly disappeared so it seemed.
I felt embarrassed by my pain jumping from my car I was wounded and it hurt to walk, but I saw less fortunate even those who jumped from their cars risked getting hit by other cars, sadly some still fell to their doom. I knew I was fortunate but the pain seemed unbearable it hurt to stand never mind walk. I ran down the bridge limping towards the oncoming cars, yelling for people to get out. I had made a decision though cowardly if I ran at least I could tell cars later down the bridge to abandon ship; ahead a dark pit swallowed cars whole, consuming them rapidly. The collisions left piles of wreckage and some cars were completely unrecognizable, smashed between two large rigs one car was a mere metal cube. I looked at all the destruction and dismay and realized that the only way I could stop this accident is if somehow I could stop people down the road from crashing in the first place. I continued to yell signals but no one would listen, they wouldn’t react.
I saw the ground under me begin to crack and I realized this hole would only expand. I toppled off and I kept getting bumped by screaming, panicked people. I watched the sorrow and fear overcome the faces of many especially a women carrying her two sons running helplessly down the bridge. I looked around and everything seemed to be a blur everyone was running and screaming. I could only think how am I going to stop this? I carefully took out my phone and called Caroline, told her about the incident, and told her to come with my truck immediately. I heard a large crack and turned around to see more large beams smash into the water, sending large quakes and massive waves. The hole expanded and the automobiles could not stop flying over. The noise of crushing metal consumed the air.
Caroline came in the truck and picked me up we drove down the street and I told her to get out that this was not safe enough for her. She looked in dismay and began “what are you going to do?!” I said “I am going to stop this.” She reluctantly jumped from the truck and I reversed, doing a 180, I placed the car in drive and sped towards the collapsing bridge. I veered my car away from the running pedestrians. The cars were now falling more gradually so I sped my truck into the front of the light right up towards the cliff. I slammed the truck into an abandoned semi truck rolling down the right lane; it quickly toppled rolling down the road right towards the edge. My truck sped towards the left median and flipped. The next thing I remember is the ambulance personnel ripping me from the wreckage.
I arrived in the hospital and was told I was a hero. As a man who just almost died, facing blood transfusions and endless needles poking through my veins, I did not feel like a hero. I slowly opened my eyes and I saw the news cast the bridge began to crumble and eventually collapsed almost entirely and several fatalities were reported, I wept. I wondered how I am a hero, while reenacting it all in my head. I then watched as a security camera went through an account of the accidents and I watched as my truck with me in it slammed into a semi, causing it to slide down the road and slow the abandoned cars to a stop. Several people were given the opportunities to live all because one “heroic” act; to me it was just a reprieve from my original encounter with the crumbling bridge.
I sit here barely able to write and comprehend what went down those many years ago and I wonder why I was left to live and why others had to stumble upon their death that miserably morning, so long ago. My only answer to the question of why me is, I will never know. I am happy that through that experience I saw that I did not like my job, I quit, and did what I really wanted to do, building engineering. I began building bridges and in the last fifty years my bridges are the best held bridges in history, and it is all because of this one horrible tragedy. I continue to wonder why, but I guess I will never get an answer. All I know is through loss you can choice to dwell or excel, live or die. Though I was given the chance to live I just wish someone could have taken my place. I sit here an old man, dying. I only wish it would not have taken a tragedy for me to get a grip on the correct future for me. I can only hope others will take this as a lesson and live life to the fullest and realize you never know when your bridge might, collapse.



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