The day was June 26, 1993. It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning. I woke up,went through my morning routine and was on my way to my friend Bert's house. Itwas the first week of summer and we had lots to do.
We planned a campingtrip for that night and everything was set. Somehow we got to talking about ourfuture. It was a short conversation. At the time neither of us had good gradesand our attitudes about school and our future weren't going to take us very far.We quickly got off that topic and went outside right about the time a kid fromschool pulled into Bert's driveway. "Oh no," said Bert, "it's thatdork, Mike. Hey, maybe he'll give us a ride to the store." So we asked andhe agreed.
We all piled in and took off and I mean took off! He was flyingdown Main Street, doing about 65 miles an hour. We told him to slow down and wedecided to forget about the store, but told him to bring us back to Bert's, so hepulled the emergency brake and cut the wheel. When all the smoke had cleared, wewere facing the other direction, and he hit the gas and sped up the road towardBert's house.
When we got to Bert's street, he was going too fast to makethe corner, so he kept accelerating. By the time we got to the "Reduce Speed- Sharp Curve ahead" sign, he was doing in excess of 85 miles per hour. Wescreamed for him to slow down, but he wouldn't listen. We went right into thecorner doing 85 miles per hour. The back end of the car slid out. Then he sharplycut the wheel to the right and that's right where we went - right off the road.
The last thing I saw was a tree branch hitting the car. Then everythingcame to a complete stop. I never heard the crash and I never really saw the tree,all I knew was that my shirt and pants were covered with blood, and I was in alot of pain. The driver, not at all injured, just stood by the car flipping outabout how dead he would be when his parents saw this. So I crawled out of thedriver's side at the same time as Bert, who was injured, crawled out the window.We got to the neighbors and a guy came out and said "Don't worry, I alreadycalled for help." So I just lay there, telling myself that I was okay andhelp would be there soon.
It seemed like before any time went by, thepolice and ambulance were there. We were rushed to the hospital and I wasimmediately treated. I spent the next four hours getting stitches - three in mythumb and 26 in my face.
My parents got to the hospital a short timeafter I was brought in. For the rest of the night, all I heard was how lucky Iwas to be alive. A lady told me I must have had an angel on my shoulders to havesurvived. They were right. For the next two weeks I was in bed, that's all Ithought about: how lucky I was, how precious life is and how I'll never takeanother day for granted. It's not a pleasant way to learn a lesson, but eitherway I learned.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.