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CRASH

Someone, somewhere, had once said, “Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, but Today is a Gift, that is why it is called the Present”. But because of one white truck, I would never forget, could never have predicted, and will never treasure what happened to me that August of the summer I was 17.

It was the worst month of my life; my job as a waitress at the Burlington Goldstar was going downhill after only a week, though the only reason they had given me was that I wasn’t “peppy” enough. They had pulled me aside that day to lecture me, and being that I am overly sensitive (and kick myself for it), I began to cry and was unable to stop. I left early, still trying to stop the tears flowing down my cheeks. I sank into a dark place when I got home; curling up into a ball, I cried for another 15 minutes before I noticed the date on the calendar. The County Fair was beginning tonight; I had forgotten that I wanted to turn in an art piece to the judges, so I took a deep breath to relax myself, changed out of my work clothes, gathered my art pieces, and went out the door.

A half hour and a line later, I was ducking back into my furnace of a car, ready for this day to end and the heat to cease. All I wanted was to go home, get into my bed, and sleep off my depression, but fate seemed to have another plan. You see, if I had left 15 minutes earlier instead of crying at my house, if I had gotten to the fairgrounds 15 minutes earlier to turn in my art pieces, and if I had taken their criticism more professionally at work, then I wouldn’t have ended up in the emergency room 15 minutes after I had made a 180 degree flip off the road because of a white truck that was edging towards my side of the narrow street.

But that is exactly what had happened. After I left the Boone County Fair, I was rounding the only sharp turn on Conrad, stepping slightly on my brakes to prepare for the turn, when a white truck, also rounding the turn, was creeping over to my lane slightly. Frightened that I would hit it, I steered a little over to the right to make room for it, but I must have went too far because my back tire slid off the road, making me lose control of the entire vehicle. Fighting to regain control, I grabbed the steering wheel and swerved, but instead of remaining on the road, I became airborne. Time had slowed down as the adrenaline and fear pumped through my veins, yet I felt numb; all I remember seeing is a blur of green while the world turned upside down…literally.

I was suspended upside down by my seat belt; my head was throbbing and I blinked a few times. Common sense had kicked in that I should get out of the car, so I gently unbuckled my seat belt and fell to the roof of my Saturn; glass from my windows littered the floor, and for the first time since I had gotten the car, I was thankful that the air conditioner didn’t work because my driver’s side window was rolled down, creating an exit for me to crawl through. I army crawled out, trying not to touch any shards of glass; it wasn’t until I stood up, that the whole effect of the accident hit me like a bag of bricks. I started to whimper, tears stung my eyes as the smell of burnt rubber filled my lungs; I looked back at my car, the wheels were still turning at a rapid pace. The front end of the car was buried within the trees, and the back window would have been broken if it weren’t for the protective sealing, but instead it had thin lines going every which direction.
People stopped and got out of their cars, they were getting out their cell phones and coming towards me with worried expressions. One elderly lady came towards me and tried to comfort me while my shock started to kick in; her husband came over and told her that she should get back in the car, since she had just gotten out of the hospital herself. That’s when I noticed the hospital bracelet around her wrist, I started to cry even more; I felt so pathetic, tired, and terrified. The lady’s husband then asked me if I knew I was bleeding; I looked wide eyed at him, and then wildly looked all around my body, expecting to see a couple of scratches from crawling over the glass, but the only part me that was dripping crimson blood, was my pinky. He grabbed my hand and gingerly patted away the blood with a napkin he pulled out of his pocket; while I was being nursed, I shakily grabbed my phone and dialed my mom’s cell phone, but she didn’t pick up, I then tried my home phone, but no one answered either. I started to panic, so I dialed my step dad’s cell, and I felt a wave of relief when he answered. I told him what had happened just as I heard the sirens wailing.
The ambulance ride was a miserable one; my headache had intensified, I had a limited amount of mobility since they put a neck brace on me and strapped me to a gurney, I was becoming car sick, and it wasn’t helping that it was really hot. I begged the medic next to me if I could sit up, but he told me that that wasn’t the best idea and that I just needed to relax. The drive seemed to take forever; the neck brace was choking me the same time I felt like throwing up. I knew we were in the hospital when I felt a wave of artificial coolness. Someone was stroking my head gently, and when I looked up, sweet relief and guilt washed over me as I saw my mom’s face; I started to bawl again, afraid that she was angry at me, and hating myself for making her worry. They pushed me into a room, lifted me onto a bed and closed the door so I could have some privacy with my mom. We had just convinced one of the nurses to remove the brace when my dad walked in. I had never cried so much in my life until today.
I was blubbering apologies for several minutes before a nurse came in to remove the glass from, and bandage up, my pinky; she also gave me some strong pain killers for the major headache I obtained. One could tell that my parents were not angry at me for getting into a wreck by the look of relief they gave each time they glanced at me; apparently they weren’t the only ones worried about me because both their phones were ringing every couple of seconds from my aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas, and even my brother who was stationed in Florida called and told my mom that if I was in a serious condition, he would be on the next plane home. I realized, then, how incredibly lucky I was to have such a loving and caring family, as well as to have flipped my car and to have walked away with nothing but a tiny scar on my pinky.
I had an epiphany as I laid there in that hospital, texting my friends of my traumatic experience, I found that life is too short to not experience with every ounce of our being. We don’t realize it, but we have experienced so little in our short lives, and before we die, we need to spread the wings we were given and live life to the fullest; we need to stop looking at all the bad stuff, and stop listening to those with judgmental things to say and just seek out what will open our eyes to what we really want to become. We need to realize that we are only human, that we have flaws and have made mistakes, we have loved and we have cried, we can hate or we can sympathize. I made a promise to myself that I would pursue my dreams at full speed without looking back and would hope that I would be able to understand more about others and myself.
Someone, somewhere, had once said, “Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, but Today is a Gift, that is why it is called the Present”, at first I thought I knew exactly what that meant, but after I became upset over a little criticism, flipped my car, and am here today with nothing but a barely noticeable scar, I realized I didn’t know what it meant at all.

Live. Learn. Dream.




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