Headlights

True Story

When I was a child, sleep came easily inside moving vehicles, and this has not changed growing up. Only…the circumstances are different now, and consequences are less intense. The lull never stops as the wheels keep turning and turning and the friction between the road and the tires rolls over each other. So when I saw the light entering in my passenger window, I somehow knew it was bound to happen, but somehow the speed that I needed wasn’t enough this time. And then everything stopped. Nothing was heard except a small explosion as the flame was igniting. The smell of burning entered my nostrils altogether and I felt the pressure of the airbag hug me tightly. I sat there staring at what I could in front of me. Mirror hanging lopsidedly, windshield cracked at the edges, fluids leaking, and I was just there. And somehow, alive.

As a child, I saw everything before it registered. I could feel the turning of the wheels as they curved sharply against the road. Everything was a blur like I was a dizzy mess without actually understanding what was going on. My insides felt like they were torn, like I had the worst stomach pain imaginable. I sat on the road, hunched over my six year old body, holding myself together as the rest of the road and day seemed to collapse together. It was so hot, that day. I could feel the sun and road biting into my skin with hot, feverish touches. And then I was lifted and suddenly all the weight felt like it was gone. And I just remember the lap belt which kept me alive but barely, at that time. I was there. Going in and out of consciousness like everything was a dream, but really my survival, was truly a miracle as they described it when they recorded it for the television show. Somehow I was there. And alive back then too.

How could the change between being the passenger and driver be so different but so similar? Crying because your body is in pain versus crying because you’ve injured other people. Being physically hurt versus being emotionally scarred. Is there really such a difference between being the passenger and being the driver? Either way you’re sitting there, and while everything else is moving, you stop and for an instant so does your life. And yet you’re still here. And alive as well.

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