“Mom, before I tell you anything, you have to understand it wasn’t my fault”. It was ten o’clock on a Sunday night, standing on the corner of West Napoleon staring at my car bent out of shape and the front bumper falling limply to the ground. The two girls who saw my accident are looking at my face, panicking more than I was, as they paced around their own car and mine. Before, I thought my day couldn't have gotten more frustrating.
A thunderous rumble woke me up on this Sunday; rain poured harshly outside my window, making me want to close my eyes and go back to sleep. It was already eleven, and I had plans with my friend, Owen, to do homework and get lunch from our favorite sushi restaurant. I rolled over to read numerous passive aggressive messages from my now-ex-boyfriend, Josh. When I see that I also have three missed calls from him, I put my phone down and get out of bed, making my way into the shower. I don’t bother with makeup once I get out, but I throw on a pair of leggings and a grey t-shirt. I grab my phone and frustratingly call back Josh. He answers on the first ring, demanding to know where I’ve been all morning. When I explain that I’ve only been sleeping, his voice softened. “Oh, I’m sorry. You know I just get worried. Can we go get lunch in a little bit?” As soon as he asked me, I feel a sense of guilt. I hated that he always made me feel terrible for wanting to spend time with my friends and not him. “Owen actually wanted to go to that sushi place in Lakeview. Maybe I could to your house later after I’m done” I tried to explain to him, but I immediately hear him sigh and prepared for the outburst. “I just don’t understand how you think it’s okay to hangout with that kid” he said to me. Owen and I had known each other since we were practically infants, and had been close ever since. Before Josh, we were with each other nearly every day. Josh continued on with his rambling about how terrible I am for not wanting to spend the day with him, not taking into account I’ve been with him the last two days. I apologized regardless, and after a few minutes, he let me off the phone so I could leave. Owen and I met each other at the restaurant, ate much more than we should have, and then went to a coffee shop to do homework. I had been texting Josh throughout the day, but in the middle of a physics problem, I glance down to see that my phone had gone down to eight percent. I was nervous he would get angry with me if I didn’t respond to him for awhile, but I knew I didn’t have a charger in my bag. “Do you have your charger with you?” I asked Owen, and he scrambled through his bag but then looked up at me empty handed. “I have one in my car I’m pretty sure. I’ll give it to you when we leave so you can use it on your way home, and you can just give it back to me tomorrow.” I smiled at him gratefully, and we both started to pack up our school bags. He gave me the charger in the parking lot, and we separated into our own cars. I made sure to plug in my phone before pulling out onto the street, knowing that I had about a twenty minute drive before I’d be home. Pulling up to the red light, I glanced to the side to notice there’s only two cars on the side of me, with no one else on the adjoining streets of the intersection. My phone powered on finally and I see a missed call and a few texts from Josh. Immediately I feel terrified that he’s going to be mad at me, because he had been trying to contact me for at least an hour. I opened the texts to reply, but looked up to see the light turn green. I looked both ways before pulling out, the car on the side of me following close beside me. Before I had a chance to get more than three feet off the white lines, a heavy white truck sped past me. I felt my car rock, and I think to myself “how did that car not hit me?” It was only when I turned to the side and saw parts of car flying with the truck to realize the driver had just run the red light to the side of me, ran into my car, and kept driving. I seemed to watch him drive off the entire time it took me to get through the intersection. When I finally faced forward, still in disbelief, I spotted a car wash parking lot on the corner of the intersection and pulled in. I sat in my car for a minute, not wanting to get out the car and accept that the car that I had been driving for 2 weeks is damaged. I finally will myself to get out, and find the front of my car to be smashed in, my headlights and front bumper almost completely hanging off. Tears sprung to my eyes, but before I could let myself cry a car sped up next to me and two young girls jump out. “Oh my gosh are you okay? We saw the whole thing I cannot believe someone would do that and just drive away! He must have been going seventy-” they stopped talking when they saw my face, staring back at them in shock. I rushed back to my car to call my mom. After explaining what happened, she drove to where I was. While I waited for her to show up, I pulled out my phone and immediately texted Josh, needing comfort. I was panicked and explained what had happened. He instantly replied, “You haven’t responded in two hours, Kate.” I had never been more confused. Why wasn’t he more focused on what happened? I explained to him my phone had died, but it took him multiple calls and texts of explaining and apologizing for being out in the first place for him to ask me if I was okay. Flustered from the accident and hurt that the only person I truly needed comfort from was too mad at me to calm me down, I texted Owen. He replied frantically, telling me he was already on his way and repeatedly asking me if I was definitely okay. I was fine, but the fact that I had someone concerned if I was helped me to relax.
It was in that moment, standing beside my torn up car, looking around for my mom, that I realized I had far too many other things to be concerned and stress about to be dealing with an overbearing and controlling person in my life. I was sixteen years old; I didn’t need to have someone worried about every move I make other than myself and my mom. I needed to be focused on school, my family, and becoming closer with my friends before we graduate. When my mom finally showed up, I breathed a sigh of relief. Soon after, Owen showed up and made sure I was okay. Despite the situation, I could finally relax, focusing on what was truly important in the moment and on how thankful I was for the people there with me.