Tuesday, June 26, 2012


     It was a warm winter day, he was 17 and a senior in high school.  Mid term exams had just let out and he was driving on his usual route home.  He had the radio playing, the windows down and was enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.  He came around a corner and saw someone standing on the side of the road.  As he approached he noticed that it was a girl from his school, but something was wrong.  She looked frantic.  He stopped the car next to her.  He opened his door, got out and asked if she was okay.

"No" she said in a panic.

"What's wrong?"

"We had...we had...an accident" she breathlessly shouted.

"Get in, show me where" He said.

     They both got in the car and continued down the road.  The road came to a sharp corner and the girl said, "Right here!"  He stopped the car and immediately he noticed the skid marks on the road.  He got out and slowly followed the path of the tire tracks.  When he got to the middle of the road he saw a car coming in the opposite direction.  He flagged it down and told the driver to please find a phone and call 911.  As the car sped off he continued following the skid marks to as they left the road way and disappeared.  He looked down.

     Below him the car was on it's roof about 30 feet down a sheer embankment.  The right blinker was blinking.  He saw someone sitting down outside of the car.  He plunged and skidded down the embankment.  Silence.  He slowly walked over to the girl sitting down.  She was rocking back and forth.  He knelt down next to her.  He put his hand gently on her back.  "Are you okay?" he asked.  She didn't answer him.  

     The temperature seemed to have dropped for some reason.  The silence was gone, in it's place he heard the trickle of small creek.  He turned his attention to the car.  It was in the creek.  The blinker still blinking.  Then he saw something.  Blonde hair.  Hanging upside down.  It smacked him hard in the gut - holy shit there is someone still inside!  

     Just then other people arrived.  A police officer and a few others.  He quickly told them that there was someone inside.  The officer tried to open the door.  It wouldn't budge.  He yelled for us to help him try to push the car over.  Amazingly, with four people it went right over.  The officer jumped on the trunk and reached through the broken back window.  The officer yelled "She's still alive!"

     The ambulance arrived and the EMT's made there way down the steep hill.  They were getting the girl in the back seat out.  He went over to the girl who was sitting nearby .  She was still rocking.  He knelt by her again.  Something inside of him told him to talk to her.  He asked if she was okay again.  She made a small noise.  He kept talking.  She seemed to hear him.  He smoothed the hair on her head and told her it would be okay.

     He kept talking until the EMT's came for her.  He helped them put her on a backboard.  He helped them carry her up the hill.  He watched the ambulance drive away.  Silence.  He finished his drive home.  He sat in his quiet house alone.

     What just happened keep playing over and over again in his mind.  He started to shake.  Not wanting to be alone he got back in his car and drove back to the high school.  He went into the office and said that he needed to talk to someone.  They asked what it was about.  He told them that there was an accident down the road and he was there and the he just needed to talk.  They sent him to the nurses office.  He was still shaking.  The principal came over and he told her what happened.  It didn't help him.  He spoke to a few others and told them what happened.  Then he left and went back home.  Again, he couldn't be still.  He went to a friends house and found a bunch of his closest friends all together.  He told them what happened.  He started shaking again.  He broke down in tears as his friends held him tight.

     Two days later he sat at their funeral.

     He was still shaking.

     It made no sense.  Dying had always been for old people and others he didn't know.  He sobbed like a baby in his friends arms and shook uncontrollably.  He didn't know the two girls.  They were a year younger and popular.  He was not.  He was crushed though.  He couldn't stop crying.  He could barely breath he was crying so much.  His friends were with him.  They hugged him and held his hand.

     Slowly life returned to normal for him.  Years passed, but recently these memories have been returning to him.  In a quiet moment in the middle of nowhere in some place he had never been before he was racked with emotion.  He saw himself kneeling besides the girl and gently talking to her.  Smoothing her hair.  His eyes flooded.  He made a promise to himself that he would see them when he returned.

    He stood before their graves.  He remembered the feelings of that time long ago.  He remembered telling himself to live.  Live.  Whatever that means.  Embrace life.  Do and see and be and feel everything that he can.




  1. You're not going to live forever. Find this to be true, use your past as a guide. While you're alive, live.

  2. Very touching. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lovely Matt, thanks for making me cry