Getting the News

May 20, 2008
By Jared Rushlau, Grandville, MI

It was a chilly November day as I walked around the cul-de-sac of Redwing Ct, spacing in and out of my music and delivering papers to cold concrete steps and aluminum mailboxes. On my journey to one house, I skimmed the newspaper looking for something interesting. Towards the bottom of the page was a small picture of a young man with a short haircut and a blue button up tee. The photo reminded me of someone I had spent a lot of good times with the summer before.
Memories began circulating through my head of moments with our soccer team. The headline next to the groomed photo read, “15 Year Old Teen Killed in Car Accident.” As the weather began to pierce my skin, so did reality. My heart dropped like a ten pound brick and thoughts of how this could have possibly happened raced through my mind. My paper bag slammed to the ground as I ripped a paper open to read more of the shocking article. “Early snowstorm claims the life of one Grand Haven teen.” My eyes sped over the page and started spotting words that popped out. “Icy, snow, mother in passenger seat.” The pieces began to fit together in my head. I read on. “Lost traction and slid into oncoming traffic. Hit car head on.” I could see it happen in my mind, as if I was in the back seat. I could feel the small white car suddenly lose traction and watch Mike turn the steering wheel violently to try and save it. Adrenaline was beginning to build up as the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. An eerie silence followed by screams of fear filled the cabin. Flashing lights from the oncoming car blinded us in the car right as impact comes. Then everything goes black.

That image played in my mind so many times that I forgot where I was and what I was doing. I had drifted about 5 houses away from where I had been before I started reading the newspaper. After regaining awareness of where I actually was and redelivering some papers, I headed home, wondering how I should break the news to my family. I began to wonder if any other people on my team knew about it yet. I began to feel sorry for his best friend and long time teammate, Nate Jacobsen, and his family. Right as I walked in my house, my mother asked me what was wrong. Somehow she can always tell when there is something wrong with me, but this time I couldn’t speak, I did not know what to say or how to feel. I looked at her then looked away, laying down an extra newspaper with the article face up as I walked away.

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