April 1st, 2017

“This is an April fools joke, right Sydney?” -Everyone, ever.

I wish I could’ve said yes.

I feel inclined to tell this story because I am able to incorporate the craziness that was the mother of my boyfriend, as well as my terrible, terrible luck.

Starting way back at the beginning of my senior year of high school, my good old 2000 Ford Focus finally hit the dust. 17 years isn’t bad for the life of a car, right? Factor in a school year of saving money for a new one, and we arrive nearly at the end of February. I replaced the dreadful Focus and bought the most perfect car I ever could’ve imagined.

My 2008, bright yellow Chevy Aveo was honestly the best thing I’d ever owned. I would’ve driven that thing for the rest of my life if I could. It was small, simple, and did I mention yellow? I’m very passionate about the color yellow, and if you ever see me on a rainy day you will have to shield your eyes from my yellow rain boots, rain coat, and umbrella. Imagine me wearing all of these things getting out of my yellow car. I was thriving, to say the least.

Now I loved this car not only because of its bright paint job, but because I paid for it all by myself. As a 17 year old girl going to high school and working part time at a shoe store, a car purchase was pretty impressive. This thing was my baby. I was never going to let anything happen to it.

Forget the car thing really fast while I jog your memory about my prior relationship. Chris was his name, and in my last story telling session I mentioned the mother of Chris who quite honestly made me want to throw myself off a bridge every time I heard her name, her voice, or even like- thought about her face. She truthfully is the worst person I have ever had to deal with in my life. Pure evil. Do not assume I am exaggerating because this woman made me consider driving my car off the road just so I’d end up in the hospital and make her feel bad for being so mean to me.

To be able to explain this story to the best of my ability you must know the details of our age and location. If I told this story without explaining, you’d think I was dating a 7 year old because that is about how much credit his mom gave him. Chris was 19, though, and he was on his freshman year of college. He was about two and a half hours from our hometown where I was located & finishing my senior year of high school.

I have a lot of freedom, and my parents trust me a lot. They know if I drink, smoke, have sex, you name it. That is a relationship I am very proud of because not many 17 year olds can say their parents know when they’re breaking the law/risking dooming their future with a teen pregnancy (not that kids aren’t cool, I’m just not down for that right now). Chris’s mom is the exact opposite of my parents.

Chris went home with a hickey once, and his mom texted me to inform me that we were not allowed to date and that I am a terrible excuse of a human and I am an awful influence on her son. That was pretty fun, and spoiler alert, we didn’t break up. Instead, I doomed myself to a year long relationship of my college boyfriend not being allowed to be in a car alone with me or come to my house and spend time with me or my family (because they were spawns of satan too, how else would they have given birth to the devil herself ((me))). In retrospect, I think I stayed in the relationship as a giant fuck you to his mom. Like, hey you told me I can’t date your son but I don’t like to listen to people so I will do the opposite of what you want. I’m partly joking, because I really did like him for a good part of our relationship. That’s why I took the trip on April 1st, 2017.

April 2nd was Chris and I’s anniversary. The weekend following that of our anniversary was the weekend of my birthday, and following that was Easter. These are all pretty good reasons to make the 2 hour trip home and visit for a weekend, or so any normal person would think. Chris was not, under any circumstance, allowed to come home for our anniversary or my birthday. Easter was fine, though, no worries. So in another attempt to let his mother know I could not stand her, and that her rules could not and would not apply to me, I decided I would go and visit Chris for our anniversary weekend.

My little yellow car got crazy good gas mileage, by the way. This is an irrelevant detail. So the morning of Saturday, April 1st, I drive to Wheaton, IL. It was a good drive, a nice spring day with clear skies and perfect weather. I got there about noon and we spent the day together, walking around his campus, meeting his friends, watching a movie. I was content.

My parents wanted me to leave Wheaton about 8:00, just so I could be back into town by a decent hour. Understandable. I left my dear boyfriend and his college at like, 8:03PM. If only I had left right at 8:00 like they told me to.

At 9:13PM on April 1st, 2017, an accident happened in front of me on I-57. The car who caused it sped away. A split second later, the Jeep driving in front of me crashed into the car who had been a part of the hit and run. And a split second after watching this all happen, the whole event froze in time and began moving in slow motion before me. I saw the break lights on the giant jeep, from my tiny little Aveo, and all I remember is my fear rushing out of me in the form of a blood curdling shriek, and a fast foot to the break. The breaking wasn’t enough, if you hadn’t already caught on.

My little yellow car made a worse noise than my mouth had, the screeching breaks followed by the worst clashing, crunching, colliding metal sound I have ever heard in my life. I had just driven into a car three times the size of mine going 65 mph. My first thought was that there was no way I was alive, and when I determined yes I was alive, I thought maybe it actually wasn’t that bad and my beloved car was just a little scratched up, I could probably buff it out. The cup I had in the cup holder had fallen over so that would be a sticky mess to clean up, but otherwise I didn’t feel hurt at all and my radio was still on, so everything must be fine. I opened the door, which was a little jammed shut. I pushed it pretty hard and climbed out. Some tears were working their way out, but when I brought myself around to the front of my car, sitting sideways in a lane it had not been driving in, I lost any composure I had. My mirrors were gone, my windshield was shattered, and the entire front end of my car was flattened into my dashboard. I should be dead.

Thinking “I should be dead” is something no one should have to do. A crazy thing it is, to think “I am living right now, but I do not deserve to be here nor should I be walking away from this moment in my life. I should be dead”. Surreal. That word describes the whole month following this split second of my life that changed everything. “Everything” includes my body because when I said I didn’t feel hurt, it was because adrenaline is not a myth, and I managed to break a very important bone in my body without feeling a pinch. Pretty cool, honestly. Still a solid 0/10, though, would not recommend.

Before I took my car on that trip to Wheaton, I was told my air bags were disabled and if I were to ever get in an accident, they weren’t going to go off. I shrugged it off at the time, because no one plans on getting in an accident.

The air bag on the drivers side went off at 9:13PM and saved the scared 17 year old girl behind the wheel. I still love that car, because little yellow saved my life.

Flash forward 30 minutes, I’ve called my parents, talked to the officers, called Chris, and texted a few close friends. My parents are 2 hours away, Chris doesn’t have his own car and is an hour away, and I am learning that adrenaline eventually wears off. I felt a little pain somewhere near my collarbone, but the paramedic told me it was probably just bruised up from the seatbelt. He felt it, said it definitely wasn’t broken, but encouraged me to go to the hospital. I took an ambulance to the smallest, creepiest hospital in the middle of nowhere.

Flash forward an hour, I haven’t stopped crying, my breathing is uneven, and I am on my fourth ice pack. Ice, that was all I got for the collarbone injury, because apparently if you are only 17 & regardless of if your injury requires immediate attention, your parent or guardian must be present to get a medical professional to TELL YOU IF YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. I kid you not, I thought that April 1st was the night I would go. It’d been an okay life, I was ready to part ways. My collarbone, or rather my entire left side of my body, hurt more and more by the second. They left me in the waiting room for at least an hour after I arrived in the ER.

It wasn’t until my panicked boyfriend and his dear friend who hopped in his car to drive him to me showed up that they decided I could be moved to an uncomfortable bed in a cramped room. They took an X-ray shortly after, but before the X-ray even happened the doctor looked at my collarbone and told me it was definitely broken. Thanks for all your help, stupid paramedic guy. I have a broken collarbone.

I could probably give a lot more details, a lot more interesting stories from this night, and a lot more advice on what not to do as a 17 year old with a new car that you love dearly. The moral of the story? Don’t drive your most prized possession to visit your boyfriend that won’t last, just because his bitch ass mom annoyed you by not letting him come visit you, and also make sure you don’t follow within a mile of any car, ever, on the interstate, because I kid you not it is impossible to stop a car going that fast before it flies into the large car stopped directly in front of you. My collarbone took like a month to heal and Chris and I broke up like three months after that. Was it worth it? I don’t think you need me to answer that question.

-I swear life has gotten better since then though, sincerely Syd

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