I Wish I Never Asked
Student speaks on first ever car crash experience.
December 7, 2021
I wish I never asked.
5:50 a.m. It’s PSAT day for juniors, but I’m a senior. There’s practically nothing to do in classes all day, but I still need to go. I have a meeting to attend after school; stories to edit; people to speak with. The girl who normally picks me up isn’t going to school – she wants to work on scholarship applications at a nice cafe.
But me? I refuse to miss today, and I even ask my dad if he can take me. I wanted to go to school because I didn’t want to fall behind. Because I did not want another absence. Because I miss being an in-person student after being online for a year.
I regret that decision. I wish I never asked my dad to take time out of his morning to drive me to school.
They were supposed to yield.
Then we brake, but it is too late.
6:41 a.m. The impact hit.
All I remember thinking was, “Will we die from this?” I wish I never asked. I wish I never asked.
All I remember is feeling like I’m in a movie. My phone, cradled in my hand, is open on a conversation with a close friend of mine. We were just talking about our favorite video game. Then the lights turn on in the car – a sickly orange. I hate the color orange.
I wish I never asked.
36 seconds, frozen in time. That is how long it took to assess what happened. How long it took to pull over, out of one of the busiest-cross sections. I wish I never asked.
I look at my dad, the driver. His phone is in his hands now, off of the wheel. He turns his hazards on, “Are you okay?” he asks me.
“Yes, are you okay?” I respond, not even glancing at my scraped knees. They are covered in scratches – like when a cat attacks or when velcro tugs against skin. I wish I never asked.
I couldn’t help but think what would have happened if we didn’t brake. Would we be dead? Would I have lost my dad?
My once vertical backpack has now toppled over, and me? I can’t breathe.
Hyperventilating, I breathe in the dust of the airbags. I wish I never asked. The windows, unbroken, dust filling my lungs.
I don’t even realize what I was doing, but my dad keeps asking if I am okay. All I can do is nod. We didn’t move. It was the only thing we can bring ourselves to do. I fear that I’d either puked or started screaming.
He calls 911, then my mom. I don’t feel present at the moment.
I get out of the vehicle first. I need to check in on the other party. And my dad follows, and I notice how his favorite jacket is stained with coffee.
The other party is fine. No injuries. They tell us they did not see us coming. Impossible. I have driven on that road for the past four years. No way.
I was just glad my dad was okay.
I wish I never asked. I wish I never asked. I wish I never aske-