Car crashes, life or death situations, words with no meaning to a teenage kid. Nothing can happen to a kid who does not believe in such ideas. Kids routinely go out on the weekends assuming they will soon be back in the comforts of their own bed. When they return they casually snuggle close to the delicate silk of their pillow. In just one night, however, everything can change. One trip home could be the last.
Looking through the windshield the night seemed as clear as glass. Clouds were nowhere to be seen in the sky as the moons rays shown sharply down on the black pavement. Along the side of the road all the stores had closed for the night. With my eyes scanning through the night I could only see small security lights piercing through the large window displays. On the side walks no pedestrians could be found strolling on a midnight walk.
I thought the city looked as empty as a poor man's wallet. Staring into the darkness I felt as alone as I ever had, even with the comfort of three friends surrounding me. I glanced at the digital illuminated clock and then tuned out all noise except the stereo. The music from the speakers pounded into my ears as if coming from out of a cannon. I laid back as concentration was totally lost between the ruckus of the musicians and the continuous chattering flowing from the backseat. As I relaxed the seat belt strained against my chest. My mind pondered for a second about setting myself free from the grips of the restraint, but then wisely choose against the notion. Up ahead, on the street, the headlights from the car crawled along the road lighting up another white line every second. With the road going straight as an arrow the driver became distracted tinkering with the radio. In the front seat my nostrils stung as the odor of tobacco consumed the air. To the side of me the window was rolled down as the hot air from the inside collided with the cool air from he outside. The long locks of my hair flew peacefully in the wind. As I glided with the very air I breathed. In the cabin the conversation turned to plans for the next day. The discussion centered around of what would be happening and the many things we would do. As the houses neared and the night came to an end the chatting died down. Only one last left turn remained.
It all started out wrong. The flourescent green light shined as a safe haven to proceed. As we went into the intersection the car inched forward waiting to make a quick move left. Beyond our windshield two white lights shown in my eyes from an opposing vehicle. As milliseconds passed these lights grew brighter and brighter. As I sat there in my mind, I knew our car would have to yield and wait for the oncoming car's passing. However, my vehicle never stopped and slowly moved into the wrong lane. It did not speed up or slow down only lethargically migrated across the intersection. As the inevitable crash unfolded before my eyes my mind froze. GO! The word came tunneling out of my vocal chords with sheer terror in the screech. I looked over as the driver snapped out of his daze, slamming the pedal to the floor. Yet, the car did not move. Both sets of tires screeched as the other driver attempted desperately to stop. Their horn in a constant buzz floating into the serene night. As the cars came closer my hand could practically reach out the window and grasp their headlights. Through the other car's windshield I could see two other people's bright white eyes containing pure fear. In their face the expression could be seen, and with the question of why our car sat stranded in the middle of this intersection. The whole world moved in slow motion.
Finally, the engine came to life roaring like a beast. The axle spun turning the wheels as rapidly as possible. My body jerked back. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the cars miss by less than a foot. When the slow motion dream world left, reality crashed into me, and oxygen rushed into my lungs. My chest rose and fell as if waves in the ocean. I could feel moisture apparent all over my body, with sweat running down my face as if I had just run a marathon. My eyelids could not be closed. In my eyes the imprint of the headlights was the only thing my brain could compute. As the car pulled over to the side of a house everyone rushed out. I looked down to my legs jolting violently even on the unmoving grass I stood upon. Next my head met the grass, as lying down seemed the only action I could do. In my vocal cords no words could be comprised as if someone stole my voice. As I looked around I saw my companions had the same fate. All four of us were sprawled on the grass not moving, but praying our breathing would soon return to normal. We tried to relax yet the sounds of the screams and smell burnt rubber still with engulfed our senses. Smiles overtook our faces as we knew the horrific ordeal that had just been avoided.
After many minutes the apologies finally poured out. The driver swore the car had it's turn signal on. I knew it never did but decided to keep my lips sealed. Nobody wanted to really talk so conversation ended and pulses began to return to normal. Many minutes time passed in a what appeared to be a second. As I starred up into the starry sky all I could see were two bright lights burned forever in my brain. The task of getting back into the car created an uneasy mood.
All of us more content with the cool grass under our feet rather then a car floor board. I turned my neck around slowly taking one last look around me, viewing the murky night. Reluctantly I forced one foot over the other until resting once again on the comfortable leather seat. Fastening my seatbelt I pondered sickened by what might have been.