Almost three months earlier, I shaved my head. It was
finally growing back rather nicely, and I seemed to actually not look so G.I. Jane. And
then..... tragedy struck.
I was riding home with my older brother from a party.
Neither of us had been drinking. We were traveling west on I-80. All of a sudden,
before either of us could react, a blue pick-up truck came swerving across the median,
striking our truck. In one swift blow, our truck flipped and rolled numerous times, not
stopping until it came to rest on a viaduct. That crunch of steel screeched and
screamed in my ears for days to come.
My head went through the
windshield, sending glass everywhere. The front of the truck got crushed in, pinning my
legs. I felt a strange stinging in my head and legs, and soon enough, the warmth of
blood was flowing down my face. I immediately looked at my brother in the driver's seat.
His head was down, and his body was slumped over the steering wheel. The tragedy of
the situation was all too familiar, and I thought I might lose yet another sibling.
At that moment, my attention wasn't focused on me, but on my brother who was only 14
months older. I remember calling his name, and reaching for him with a bloody hand. I
touched his face, only I don't remember feeling him. He never looked up; he never
responded. I began screaming his name, and as I did, the paramedics arrived. Soon
enough, my brother was taken from me, as he wasn't trapped in the car. The minutes,
hours, and days after are nothing but a blackout.
I woke up three days later
with stitches everywhere. My mom was at my side, waiting to be the bearer of the good
news and not-so-good news. The good news was that my brother was alright. He
sustained nothing more than a broken wrist, and a concussion. As for the bad news. All
the months that I'd waited for my hair to grow back, it was all thrown away in an instant.
The cuts from the glass were too deep and too much to not shave my head. I was left
bald again. In addition, I would be bound to a wheelchair for the next two months, while
my badly broken ankles healed. I had numerous cuts on my face, along with a black
eye. I was a sight for sore eyes.
I was released from the hospital three days
later, only to be completely incapable of taking care of myself. I went through every
emotion, from feeling sorry for myself to frustration. Everything changed when I finally
saw pictures of my brother’s truck. There was nothing left of the passenger side. It was
nothing but crushed steel. Only then did I fully realize how lucky I was to even be alive.
Friends and family came to the house to visit, but none of them struck me as
hard as my guy best friend did. He came bearing a wheelchair of his own. Since I had
to learn to maneuver in a wheelchair, he was going to “master the art” as well. In the
week to come, he would carry me outside to the driveway, and the two of us would
practice wheeling around in these wheelchairs as if it were a game. In our hearts we
knew if wasn’t a game. Unfortunately, it was all too real. But we tried as hard as we
could to keep on our happy faces while we practiced.
I couldn’t return to
school right away, due to my immobility. I often expressed to him the concerns and
fears I had about returning to school.
On the day I was scheduled to return, he picked me up in
the morning and drove me to school. As he wheeled me in, tears rolled down my face. I couldn’t help it.
Of course, all of my friends were waiting for me inside. Another surprise was waiting as well. It seems
my best friend had checked with the school principal and okayed the idea of him using a wheelchair for
the first day of my return. He figured that since we had the same schedules, it would make it easier on
me. And it did. I will always remember it. Another thing I will always remember is the race we had in the
hallway. I lost by a landslide, but I loved it. The yearbook loved it too.... so much that they put a picture
of it in our Senior section.
It is a miracle that I healed perfectly from the accident. I have scars
on both ankles from the surgery as well as lines on my head. But in the end, I suppose it is a small price
to pay to keep my life. Many people, such as my sister, don’t get the luxury of keeping their life.