You remember every vivid detail as if it just happened yesterday. One second, you’re watching the street lines shoot by at 65 miles per hour as if you were Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon reaching hyperspeed. And the next, a sudden loss of control–over your car and perhaps your life. Time slows, the gut wrenching uncertain seconds pass by, your senses heightened to every sight, smell, and feel as if this was the last time you would be able to see, smell, and feel. Because if the coin lands on the wrong side, it might be.
And then the impact that jolts you from the nauseating feeling into some strange euphoria. There is always a sense of peace as your car careens erratically about the highway, a pinball among guardrails, other cars, and the occasional tree. Probably your mind loading you up on endorphins to prepare your body for the distinct possibility of death or serious bodily harm. Your mind literally shuts down at that time.
And then rest. Adrenaline. The driver side door, crunched in, leaving you unable to escape the tangled metal. Good Samaritans running across the highway, asking if you’re okay. The smoke filling the cabin is acrid and tangible. Tangible, as if it happened yesterday. But this isn’t June 20, 2009–this is February 15, 2014.
They told me six cars were involved, along with one patch of really bad black ice. Apparently, I had hit it first, at close to 70 miles per hour. Skidded into the next lane. Another car hit me into a guardrail, spinning me across both lanes into the opposite side guardrail. Let’s just say that when I trained the next day, I appreciated each minute more. Appreciated just waking up the next morning. Two bad accidents, two times I’ve impacted at high speeds, and two times I’ve been lucky and/or blessed to escape with nothing more than a stiff neck (and a renewed appreciation for life).
Life is way too short to intentionally crowd out the positive things with negative feelings or emotions. Sometimes I think about what I would do if I weren’t lucky. If I had just enough time to make a phone call. Would I call my family to tell them I loved them? To tell Anonymous Law School Girl that I had a crush on her? To tell Flightless Ex-Girlfriend that I was sorry for pretty much everything?
I don’t know. Maybe I wouldn’t call anybody because it’s just like getting ready to go to bed.
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Postscript: In the spirit of positivity, I accepted an offer from DLJ to publish my note. If all goes well, look out for it in 64 Duke L.J. ___!