I’m alive. And most of me is surprised, but some of me is still convinced that I am invincible. Pushing 48 mph down a three lane road in suburban Phoenix, I found myself enjoying the sunset and the ease of driving and thinking about “The Hunger Games” when a yellow light caught my eye. Naturally, through some quick processing, I calculated that I had enough time to make it across, and so I kept on going, while a small black car decided he could turn left. He couldn’t. My mom yelled “Watch out” I slammed on the brakes, turned slightly to the right, and the airbags popped out. “Get out of the car!” My hand slipped over the handle; I thought I may be covered in fuel. It smelled electric and burnt. I stepped out of the car expecting it to explode. Breathe flowed into my body.
"Are you okay?" asked the other driver.
I looked down at my body. I looked at my shaking mom, on the verge of hysterics. I looked at the car. I took a breath. “I’m okay. We’re okay. Wow.”
I took down a streetlight. My dads truck was totalled. My mom still had to pee. If I hadn’t turned I would’ve run over the other car; it was an ant against a polar bear. Instead the streetlight won.
Following the events everything starts to blur together. The 10 cars who had been stopped at the perpendicular streetlight all were out of their cars, asking if we were okay. One was already on the phone calling 911. When the police rolled in, the sun set the sky on fire. I felt like cheering and crying simultaneously. We survived. The officer asked questions to which I answered honestly. We had witnesses who were speaking with them too.
Shaken. The scene happened in flashes. Only some frames lingered in my mind. I scanned my body. Nothing hurt. I had no bruises. The truck is made of steel. I took down a streetlight.
I called my uncle, my dad and him came immediately. My dad took over the insurance exchange. I tried to figure out why I was so wet. My mom walked over to the bathroom. I waved our fan club onward and thanked them. It felt good to know people had compassion for tragic events. Luckily, it wasn’t a tragedy for anything by the street lamp and the cars.
The adrenaline began to wear off and I found pain in my neck: the infamous whiplash. I told an officer, and then began to unload the stuff from the truck into my Uncles car so the tundra could get towed. Everyone was friendly. Everyone was okay.
My dad let out a whimper, “I loved that truck.” And then we watched it get loaded onto the tow truck as we walked away. “Don’t worry about the truck. I am glad you are okay.”
I felt like crying. To be unconditionally supported and cared for is a gift. I will never take it for granted. On the ride home I closed my eyes.
My aunt’s hug is what brought my tears. I knew I should be alive. And I am alive. I will never take this life for granted.