One Fateful Drive This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 1, 2013
By , Wilbraham, MA
Waking up to the warm summer sun, hearing the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, and smelling the sea breeze – what a way to start my day. It was August 2008. It's a day I will never forget.

My mother, brother Greg, older sister Kristen, twin Michael, and I were staying at our Cape house. The visit began perfectly. We were going go-carting but wanted to get sweatshirts to remember our trip. After we spent some time and money shopping, we climbed back in the car and headed off for our adventure.

Michael and I started pushing each other and fighting. I was in the back row, middle seat, and he was on my left. My mother told me to move up to the front middle seat. After I moved I realized that that seat belt was stuck between the seats. After yanking and pulling, I gave up, thinking, I don't need a seat belt; it's not like anything is going to happen. But my sister pulled the belt out and buckled me up, saying, “Just in case!”

As we got on the highway, Greg wanted to stop to buy a CD. So we headed to the mall. I was frustrated because I just wanted to go go-carting and we had already wasted so much time shopping. Getting off that exit was the biggest mistake of our lives.

As we slowed for traffic, I remember playing with the air conditioner and heat switch, pretending I was a helicopter pilot. I felt a bump as we went over railroad tracks and stopped. And then everything happened really fast. In the rearview mirror my mother saw a truck coming full speed toward us. She put her head down and said “Lord, help us all.” There was nothing she could do.

It felt like a stampede of elephants crashed into our car and wouldn't stop running; then an explosion of sound rang in my ears. Our car was pushed uncontrollably, and we crashed into the car in front of us and just kept getting pushed. It was like the truck was trying to kill us. It would not stop.

My face smashed into the dashboard and instantly blood poured from my nose. My mother was draped over the steering wheel. I remember screaming, “She's dead! She's dead!”

I couldn't stop crying. I turned around to see Michael covered in glass, trying to find his glasses. Greg was holding his back and grimacing in pain. Michael raised his fist through the broken back window and screamed at the truck, “You killed our mom!” Tears streamed down my bloody face from the fear that those four words were true.

The man in the car in front of us got out and yelled “What is your problem, lady?” at my unconscious mother, whose face was still on the steering wheel. My sister yelled for him to look behind us. I have no idea how he hadn't noticed the truck buried in the back of our car. His mood changed immediately and he called 911. I remember him pulling me out of the car and trying to comfort me, but I couldn't stop staring at my motionless mother. One by one all my siblings were pulled out, but my mother still lay there, motionless.

Fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances arrived. I felt some relief seeing these heroes arrive. The firefighters started cutting our car with the jaws of life. Even with all the noise and commotion, my mother remained still. After the longest 30 minutes of my life, they were able to get through the door and gently grabbed my mother placing her on a stretcher. I stared at her lying there, thinking this might be the last time I saw her.

Them the doors of the ambulance closed, and my mother disappeared. My tears were unstoppable, and screams of anger, frustration, and sadness poured from me. I felt like I was stuck in some kind of sick nightmare that wouldn't let me wake up.

Our car was unrecognizable, like a soda can that had been smashed. Our clothes were scattered all over the street, and glass covered everything. I remember seeing a man, who had seen everything. He sat in a parking lot across the street on his green motorcycle with his helmet in his lap. I will never forget his stunned look.

With my mother on her way to the hospital, we waited for the next ambulance. The police asked, “Who was sitting in the middle seat in the back row?” We answered, “No one, officer. Why?” Without a word, he pointed to the seat where I had been sitting before my fight with Michael. A metal pole had gone through the trunk and punctured the seat. If I hadn't moved, I would have had a metal pipe piercing my body. The officer looked at me and said “You are one lucky mother ------.” I'm sure you can guess the rest.

Minutes later, another ambulance arrived, but I was okay. My nose had stopped bleeding and all I wanted to do was see my mother. The ambulance brought us to the hospital, and there she was, lying on a stretcher surrounded by nurses and doctors. She was conscious again and miraculously okay. Relief and happiness flooded through me.

Tears ran down my face at the reality that my mom was going to be fine. A lot of miracles happened that day, and it could have been so much worse. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I thought about how if I had just done something differently, like staying in the store for an extra minute or waking up later, that none of this would have happened.

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

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Ez3521 said...
Sept. 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm
Life and death situations happen everyday, just to think your lucky and happy to be alive.
Site Feedback