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September 21, 2008

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My ears were filled with the sound of silence. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as I followed every movement with confusion. It was as if I was watching what was happening from another dimension. I closed my eyes slowly, making the world disappear little by little, feeling my wet eyelashes come into contact with my ice cold face. Emptiness filled my mind as I gaped out of what was left of the car window. I swept the car door with my seemingly fractured hand ripping my skin with the broken glass fragments in an attempt to find the door handle. I glared into what resembled a lacuna. Every bone in my body felt as if it were shattered into like a crumbled bread stick. The seat belt had crushed my chest making it hard to breath. I crept out of the car and made my way to the highway wall. While I was dragging my numb legs, one after the other, scraping the cement road with my black stilettos, my senses commenced coming back to me. I began smelling the stench of petrol and a burning engine, seeing people I couldn't seem to recognize surrounding me, feeling my heart slamming against my ribcage, and hearing an unfamiliar hissing noise. With my back hammered against the cement wall, I slid down to the floor feeling the coarse surface of the wall ripping and yanking the fabric of my dress. I lifted my head up looking from my right to my left, staring past the bodies over me as if they were dark breezes making my vision blurry. I ogled at the crushed car in front of me replaying the last few moments in my head before colliding with the wall repeatedly. If you have ever heard of the expression “I saw my life flashing before my eyes,” just know it’s far from fantasy.

At that moment in time my life felt like a story being written by someone else. As if with every stroke of the author's pen my life would evolve accordingly. It seemed as if every inexplicable paused symbolized a glitch in the author’s computer. Every moment of confusion, and awe represented a moment the author was pondering what could happen next, and every doubt was a part to be edited. Even though I might have been able to influence a portion of their scenes or chapters, in the end it was their story to write. Though the author had chosen to end this particular chapter this way, it was only the beginning of the novel, there was a silver lining yet to be found. After all, shouldn’t all stories have happy endings?

“Are you alright?” asked Ralph, a guy I had met that night at the party my friends and I had just left.

“Yeah, I think so, thanks.” I replied, still in shock.

He kept coming back every few minutes wondering how I was doing, offering me water, and trying to keep me company. “Why was he so preoccupied about me being OK?” I thought to myself, “he doesn't even know me.” After what seemed like the hundredth time he had asked how I was, I finally exclaimed; “I could've died!” right at him. It had become so obvious to me all of a sudden that I kept repeating that short phrase over and over, louder and louder each time.

“It's alright, nothing happened!” he said, reassuring me. “You just bumped the front of the car. Everything's going to be fine. Just try to calm down a bit, you're freaking everyone out.”

As I stared blankly at him I could feel his hand on my wrist. At the time I didn’t know whether he was checking my pulse to make sure we didn't have to call an ambulance on top of the tow truck since I was still staring at him with amazement and carelessness, or if he might turn out to be more than some guy I had just met at a party.

The truck finally came to take the car away. I knew that meant I had to say goodbye to Ralph. Although I didn't know him, the thought of it took my breath away. It had been such an anomalous night that I didn't know how I felt about any of it. A part of me wanted to go home and just get the explaining I had to do over with, but the other part of me wanted to stay with the guy looking at me from the corner of his big brown eye, making sure I was okay. He had been so attentive and caring that night. My mind rushed me back to all the short and meaningless relationships I had had, could he be different?

I walked towards my friend's car to go home, I was going to have a lot of clarifying to do once I got there. Ralph was leaning on the car with his hands buried in his jeans pockets, waiting for me. I could feel my heart beating faster than I thought was possible, but wasn't sure why.

“I hope everything turns out okay.” he said, looking down into my glistening eyes from his nearly two meter high ones. “Let me know if you need anything, OK?”

“Thanks, and yeah, I will,” I replied, thinking of how obtuse what I had just said sounded.
I'm not really one to hug but at that instant I could feel my arms pulling away from my body and reaching for him. As his long, muscular arms wrapped around me tight I could feel my heart melt. It was as if nothing else mattered. My eyes closed and all I could hear was the sound of the ocean. I felt so relaxed and protected that I even forgot I had just been in a car accident. I could smell his Kenneth Cole perfume soaking into my little black dress. His head rested lightly on mine as his arms loosened their grip from round my small waist. I could hear his steady heartbeat, its cadence keeping me calm. I opened my eyes slightly and smiled, there was something about him that made me want to hold on forever. Once I realized my body was still pressed against his, I pulled back, climbed into the car, and waved goodbye from the within it, hoping to see him again. While watching his blue BMW take a curve, my mind drifted to a hymn. The dreadful thought of explaining what had happened tonight to my parents, the fact that I had just crashed into a highway wall after having moved to Lebanon only two weeks ago, and the punishment that would follow the extended lecture I was going to have to bear from my father were somewhere floating away in my mind for subsequent use. The words of the song that had been playing when we had entered the club were all I could think about instead. Of course the harmonious memory of meeting what might turn out to be my prince charming ended as I pulled up in front of my house. As I pressed my forehead against the car window looking up to my third floor terrace, I could see my father in his robe glaring at me with his piercing army stare. There is a consequence for nearly all mistakes we make, you just need to make sure it was worth it when it ends, and tonight was.





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