The Crash This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   As I lay there, visions of the previous five minutes raced through my head. I felt a shooting pain in my neck as I tried to recall my last steps. I remembered rounding the rotary and noticing the red Viper behind me. The conceited driver tailgated me for two miles. I felt pressured to speed up as he came closer. I remember stopping at the red light, hoping he would make a turn, but he remained behind me. As I took the corner when the light had changed, I made sure I was under the speed limit. Knowing that cops hide in various nearby niches, I used caution while trying to find Meghan's house. The last thing I needed was a speeding ticket for going twenty-nine miles-per-hour instead of twenty-five. (I actually had been stopped for this before.) A random white car pulled out of a driveway to my left. Figuring it would continue straight, I let my eyes glance quickly in my rearview mirror to see how amazingly close the red Viper was.

The last thing I remembered was focusing my eyes back to the road, only to see the now-stopped car. I felt out of control. There was nothing I could do. Reflexively, I had slammed on my brakes. They were basically useless because I was so close. I remember seeing the front of my hood as it neared the rear of the other car. It felt as though I was traveling at the speed of light.

After the initial collision, the airbag deployed. As I painfully and frantically opened my eyes, I saw the airbag deflating. I was surrounded by gases and smoke. I could not breathe and as I choked for air, I was inhaling the poisonous fumes. I couldn't find the device to unlock my door. As I finally did, I felt the clean, fresh purified air fill my lungs. I gasped for oxygen, but there was only gaseous smoke. As I fell out of the car, I lost consciousness. I do remember seeing the red Viper pull away from the scene of the accident, amazingly unharmed. The pompous driver left me to fight for consciousness (and exchange insurance information).

The ambulance appeared quickly and I was strapped onto an orange backboard. I was crying for my parents as pain surged through my body. Visions of the collision still raced through my head, resulting in convulsions due to nerves. It was then that I saw the lady I had rear-ended. Her car had minimal damage. I mouthed the words "I'm sorry" as the EMT tripped over my license plate.

Once inside the ambulance, I heard the EMT talking to my parents. They heard the most feared words a parent can hear: "Mr. and Mrs. McGinty, your daughter has been involved in a severe vehicular collision." It was then that everything came crashing down on me. The ambulance's siren contributed to the nerves keeping me conscious. Thoughts of explaining things to insurance companies and lawyers filled my head along with the missed schoolwork. (I was on my way to Meg's to work on a history project.) I could see my car being towed away as the familiar sound of "Stairway to Heaven" continued to play on the tape my boyfriend had made for me. The paramedics thought I had fractured my back.

I looked back on the freedom I was leaving. Thoughts of the nights that I had spent riding around with friends in my car infiltrated my pounding head. The freedom of

having my license was overcast

with pangs of intense emotional

and physical pain. As a three-season high school athlete, I feared spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I looked through the almost-shut ambulance door. As they closed

the door I saw the number 295

on a mailbox ... Meg's house was 296 ... c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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