Monday, September 26, 2011

One Year Ago

It was a Sunday night, around 6:45 pm. My two friends and I had all had bad weeks. Whether that be because of fights with parents or getting in trouble at school, we were ready to escape the drama. So we decided to go see “The Guardians – Owls of GaHoole”. It was going to be a night full of popcorn, silly cartoons, and relaxation, after a hard week for all of us. But really, how often do things go the way they're supposed to go?
Of course, the way all good stories go, this one has some foreshadowing. I thought Clarissa was 18, and she wasn't quite yet.When I discovered I was disobeying my parents as well as breaking my provisional, I got a little nervous. I remember saying, “We just can't get pulled over. It'll be okay. We're almost there anyway.” As we pulled up to to a red light next to a cop, I got nervous again. I asked, “Is everyone's seatbelt on? There's a cop.” So we all fixed our seat belts and impatiently waited for the red light to turn, to escape the cop's eyes.
The light turned green. Listening to “Like a G6”, I turned from the New Seward onto 36th. I didn't make the turn before Liz gasped. “Destinee, Oh my God!” I looked at what she was looking at, directly out her window. A huge black F250 speeding towards my little red Ford Escort.
Doing some quick thinking, I realized there was nothing I could do to avoid being hit. Liz tried to grab my steering wheel, but that was turning us closer to the other vehicle. In the heat of the moment, I slapped her and slammed on my breaks, right as this black monster rammed into my car. We spun in circles towards the other side of the road, almost hitting a pole, while all the windows shattered in on us.
When my car finally screeched to a halt, I started screaming. I was sure something had impaled my chest, it hurt so bad. It took a moment, but I realized the wind was just knocked out of me from my airbag. I thought for a moment, while still screaming. I was responsible for two other girls at this point. Were they okay? I looked to my right, at Liz, sobbing. “She's hurt, but she's okay,” I remember thinking. Looking in my back seat at Clarissa is when I really got scared. Her head was flopped down, her chin to her chest. I started sobbing, so sure she was dead on impact. Suddenly her head lifted up, and she said something. Immediately I felt so blessed. No matter what, we had all made it, and that seemed to be a feat in itself.
A few seconds later, it seemed everyone and their mother was running to the windows of my car. “I called the police!” echoed through my ears. Someone said to me, “Sweetheart, you need to get out of the car.” Realizing we were all probably a little hurt, I remembered something my Mom had taught me. “But you're not supposed to get out of the car after an accident!”, I said. They reassured me that they knew, but that my car looked as if it was about to catch on fire. That was enough for me, and we were out of the car, with Liz having to be pulled out of the window because of how smashed in her side was.
Right here, I have a pretty level head. I realize I need to call my Mom, so I do. I clearly tell her that my car is totaled, that Liz and Clarissa are in the car with me, and that I'm on New Seward and 36th. That she needs to come now. I start to look over the girls, making sure they're safe. They both have blood on them, and are crying. I know the cops are on the way, so I try to get them to sit down next to me. A man came up to us and told us to sit down. “You're bleeding.” I looked down at my hands, blood splattered on them. Then realized there was a dull ache in my left knee. He lifted up my pant leg to check it out, and I saw my knee cap exposed. My level head went right out the window, and I started screaming. “I don't want to see it! I don't want to see it!” I cried. “She doesn't want to see it, pull her pant leg down!” Liz yelled at the man. I panicked, and called my Mom sobbing. “There's blood! Blood is everywhere! I'm covered in blood!” The paramedics showed up, taking the phone out of my hands. Reassuring my poor parents that I was alright and that they were taking all precautions necessary. They begin strapping us all to stretchers. And that was when all the parents showed up.
“Liz! Liz! Liz!”, I heard Liz's mom sob. “Where is she?!” Laying on the stretcher, I remember pointing vaguely to my right.
The rest is just a lumpy blur of a night. My Mom holding my hand. The paramedics cutting open my pants, and me screaming. The ambulances driving us to the hospital; me getting stitches and medicine for an infection already starting in my knee. A million phone calls because Liz had sent out a mass text informing people we were in an accident, but not that we were okay. My best friends showing up to the hospital, shaken up. The cop coming to see me and telling me I turned on a red arrow but green light. That if I hadn't slammed on the breaks, Liz would have died. That we were unbelievably close and so, so lucky. Talking my way out of a ticket. Going home, sobbing.
We were all okay. Liz had a slight concussion and torn ligaments in her knee, Clarissa has a scar from her seatbelt. My knee was trashed. We all hurt, but it wasn't nearly what it could have been, should have been. That was unbelievable to me.
Being so close to losing my friends, and possibly my own life, really changed me as a person. Driving is no longer leisurely for me,. I didn't drive for 6 months after the accident, and now I'm constantly panicking and always watching. I became a little more serious, a little more grown up. I valued the little things more. I am so grateful for those two little inch miracles, and I watch for them every day.

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