We didn’t see it coming.
It was Halloween 2016. It was a Monday. It was a pretty basic day.
I was wearing a casual date outfit: my favorite jeans, a cute black top, and my favorite earrings. I got out of class at 11:15 and called my boyfriend. We were going to go to Old Chicago for lunch because that was our place, and I had to work that night.
When I look back at that day, I always try to find the moment where I felt something was going to go wrong. I always have that moment, a couple hours before getting devastating news or something goes wrong. Sometimes I wake up that morning and just know that today is going to be a bad day. Part of me believes it, other parts of me think I’m just paranoid. Either way, this day in particular, I didn’t have that feeling.
I drove to my boyfriend’s. We had a very common conversation for us: Who’s driving? I told him he could drive. We were outside already, but he had forgotten his keys. Every moment of this day matters when I look back on it.
We were driving South on Second Avenue. We were almost to Old Chicago. He pointed out a cool car. We were turning left off Second, right where Old Chicago is when it happened. As I said, neither of us saw it coming.
I remember screaming and that’s it. Next thing I know, our car was now facing North. The airbags went off. There’s glass and car parts everywhere. My ears were ringing.
I tried to open my door, but I couldn’t. He had to help me across to the driver’s side, so I could go out. As I step out of the car, I remember spitting out a piece of tooth. He leads me to the side of the road, into the grass.
Some lady had stopped to check on us. She borrowed my phone to call 911 because I was too shook up to do anything. She checked me over, got my boyfriend’s jacket out of the car and wrapped it around me. She pulled the back of one of my earrings off my ear and handed it to me. I lost both earrings in the crash, finding one when we eventually cleaned out the car. I wish I could remember the lady’s name; she works at Panda Express.
I just sat in the grass next to the road. I remember checking to make sure I hadn’t peed my pants. The back of my head hurt, and I couldn’t figure out why. A giant knot had already formed there, and would only get bigger throughout the day.
My boyfriend seemed fine; his adrenaline was pumping. He was worried about me. He was worried about the person in the other vehicle.
I don’t know how much time passed before the cops and the ambulance arrived. The EMT checked me over. He congratulated me for wearing my seat belt; he could tell by the giant rash on my neck and chest. He warned me how sore I was going to be. I signed a waiver since I didn’t go in the ambulance.
My boyfriend was ticketed.
Tow trucks came to get both vehicles.
And then I had to make the call — The Mom Call.
I knew I was going to cry, and I did. It was worse because she didn’t answer, and I left a voicemail. I can’t imagine what it was like to listen to that. When she called back two minutes later, she was already in her car, ready to leave Minden.
The next few hours were a blur: the terrifying ride home, hair and glass falling from my boyfriend’s head, my mom bringing us food, emailing professors, and calling into work. When my mom took me home, I showered, and she brushed my hair like she had when I was a child.
The next week or so was full of a lot of pain and Advil. I missed a total of three classes and two days of work.
I only have one of my favorite earrings.
I have a chip in one of my back teeth.
And I really hate left turns.