In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Use It or Lose It.”
It was a simple day, we’d been in class since we were all of 16 years old. Our after school activity had been building a huge bonfire for later that evening. Stacks of wooden pallets [something you wouldn’t use these days!] and logs donated by someone’s parents stacked 20 feet in the air. Everyone was laughing, socializing with people they rarely came into contact with, high school being a series of clicks and odd groupings. But that afternoon, we all just acted like a bunch of kids.
By the time we were done, it was getting to be dinner. We had an hour or so to get something, and my parent’s place was the closest. And we weren’t looking to raid the pantry, they were just the most convenient source of funds. So off to the begging portion of the evening. Having gotten our funds for food, off to someplace I don’t even recall anymore. I’m sure it was greasy fast food. Then off to the races to get back in time to light things up!
I still see the tree coming at us. In my mind it is much larger and ominous than it was back in 1988, but that is the fun of memory. The road turned hard to the left, we couldn’t have been going too fast. Leaves from the single tree didn’t cover the road, and it wasn’t raining. So why did we hit the stupid thing head on? The Subaru my friend had gotten less than a year before for his birthday split down the center of the hood.
For some reason I was curled up in the back of the car, being the tallest they thought I could stretch out across the foot-wells! I remember hitting the back of the seat in front of me, my hand showed the damage from my primitive reaction. The downside being that although the seat-belt did it’s job I pushed the front passenger into the windshield from the force of my body. The diver having luckily just had the imprint of the steering wheel on his upper chest.
One of us with blood flowing from his face, the other clutching their chest, they had to pull me out of the back seat since my leg was cut from knee to ankle. As we laid on the ground trying to figure out where my glasses were, where to get help on this back road, and most importantly what we were going to tell our parents; we just looked at one another and said “I thought we’d never come back from that one!” How could we have hit the only tree in a field? Why didn’t he just turn the wheel 5 degrees in either direction. The worst that could have happened was the car going into the corn field. Hell, I still wonder about that one.
After the ambulance ride, an adrenaline filled call to my parents, off to x-rays and bandaging I went. My friends having their own tests run, but we all eventually left that evening. Some to return for various surgery to fix our injuries, others just physical therapy to get our bones moving properly.
Every summer my legs see sun and the scar from that night still shows the same discoloration. It takes me back to that night and all the nights I spent with those guys.