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Wake-Up Call MAG
I'msitting on my dad's couch bawling my eyes out. It's 5:30 in the morning and I'vejust awakened from two hours of sleep. My dad sits beside me, his arm around myshoulders. My legs are throbbing. I feel as if my body has been beaten for hourswith sledgehammers. Is this really happening to me?
I was in Indiana whenit happened. We had arrived Friday, and were having a good time. Saturdaymorning, we packed up Dad's old flat-bottom boat and went for a ride down theTippecanoe River. Toward the end of the trip, we ran into an old friend, Kameron.I didn't recognize him when I saw the tall, dark-haired, young guy motoring upthe river in our direction. My dad yelled out a big hello, and I thought, Howdoes Dad know such a cutie? He's way too old to be hanging out with kids my age!Then I realized who it was. It couldn't be! Kameron?
He was right next tous, chit-chatting with my dad. I sat quietly for a minute, not knowing what tosay. I snapped back to attention when he asked how I'd been. "Oh, great.Really well," I responded. We talked for a few minutes, and before I knewit, Dad had invited him over for dinner.
When I arrived at Kameron's houseto pick him up, his parents were sitting out front. I liked Karla and Kenny, theywere cool parents. We shared pleasantries for 15 minutes or so before we left.
"Be careful with our baby! Kameron, be home by eleven!" Karlawarned as we hopped in my big green Chrysler.
The next few hours were fun.We all ate a nice dinner, and when the clock hit 10:15, I decided we should getmoving. It was only 20 minutes to his house, but he shouldn't be late. His momand dad were strict about curfews. I hope we have something to talk about on theway, I thought. I hate awkward silences. In the car, I slinked my shoes off andbuckled my seatbelt. Kameron's gave a click, too.
We drove throughtown, if that's what you want to call it; very few people live in Delphi. Kamtold me to take a left at the next road.
"It's faster and easier thisway," he said.
"Alright, but you need to let me know where I'mgoing. I've never taken this road before," I agreed.
"Not aproblem," he replied.
The country road was lined with trees. Inoticed how dark it was as we wound around the S-curves. The windows were downand the radio was on, but barely audible.
"There is absolutely nolight out here. I'm used to streetlights everywhere. My eyes are stilladjusting," I said, making conversation.
"Yeah, I know. I have ahard time seeing sometimes too, and I live here. I'm supposed to wear glasses forreading and driving, but I don't like them. I can't even see what that sign upthere says."
"It says there's a yield sign coming up," Itold him. We were going about 30 miles an hour when we came to the sign that waspartially obstructed by a huge tree and bush. I slowed a bit and looked, saw noheadlights, and proceeded through the intersection.
"Car! Car!Car!" Kameron screamed. I slammed my foot on the brake, but it was toolate.
I didn't see or feel the impact. The sound must have beenhorrendous, but I don't remember a thing. I looked straight through thewindshield as my 1994 New Yorker ran into the empty cornfield. It came to a stopfacing 90 degrees to the left. I looked at the passenger side and uttered,"Oh, my God." Kameron's head was pointed to the floor, eyes closed.
"Oh my God! Kam? Kameron! Kam, wake up!" I was screaming. Ipushed his head back, patting his cheek and squeezing his hand. He's dead. Oh myGod. He's dead. I just killed the guy that I'm in love with. Karla's words, Becareful with our baby, rang through my head. "Kameron! No!"
Helet out a moderately loud snort. Relief raced through my body. I kept trying towake him up. What if he has brain damage? Is his neck okay? Climbing out throughmy window, I was free of the car. I looked at the damage to his side as I ranaround the back to him. I attempted to open the crushed door, but it was futile.
The first people to appear were standing outside their old, powder bluepickup. A long-haired, shirtless guy who looked to be in his early twenties and agirl, whom I can only assume was his girlfriend, stared at me in disbelief.
"My friend is unconscious in the passenger seat!" I blurted. Weran to my car, pulled him out the window and laid him in the bed of the truck.The guy made an attempt to wake him up.
At that point I noticed the othercar in the field, facing the direction we had been coming. It didn't seem to havea scratch on it.
"How are the other people? Are they okay?" Iwas panicked and in shock.
"I'm sure they're fine," she assuredme. "Just stay calm." I was standing next to Kameron, holding his hand,something I had wanted to do for a long time, but not like this. He sat up andopened his eyes. He asked what had happened.
"Are you okay? Do youhurt anywhere?"
"My legs." His face was blank. He wasconscious, but not there.
"The car's smoking. It's on fire." Shelooked at the man. "We need to get away from it." He got in the cab anddrove to the opposite corner of the intersection, shut the engine off, and gotout of the truck. Another car had just arrived.
"Do you have a phone?Find a phone! Call 911! Call his parents!" I barked.
Kameron gave mehis home phone number. I didn't want to talk to Karla and Kenny, but I had to. Ifound out where we were and Karla said they would be there immediately; we wereonly a mile from their house, a mile from safety. I called my dad and gave himthe same garbled information.
It had been ten minutes since the crash, andsuddenly there were police cars and fire trucks everywhere. The firefighters wereputting out the fire under the hood, and a policeman was at my side. I was nolonger in the blue truck. At some point I had walked to the other man's blacktruck, and was sitting in the back.
The next ten minutes are a blur, evenmore so than the previous ones. The police took all my information. Kameron'sparents walked by me and I stood, calling out to Kam's little brother. I went andhugged them, saying "I'm sorry" a hundred times.
The next thingI knew a firefighter had me standing and was holding my head in place. Threepeople secured me to a stretcher and took me to an ambulance, where Kameron wasalready waiting. Kameron and I held hands the entire ride to the hospital as Isobbed, thinking about what had happened and for the first time, what more couldhave happened.
We got to the hospital, had tests run, Kameron gotx-rays, and the nurses cleaned our cuts. I had abrasions and bruises on both legsand seatbelt rash across my chest, and Kameron had suffered a concussion. Wewould both be in pain for a few days. Both our families were there to comfort us.The hospital released us 2:30 that morning.
It took 45 minutes for Dad toget me home, and I fell asleep soon after. When I awoke in pain at 5:30, he wasby my side. He had something to tell me, and I could tell it wasn't something Iwanted to hear.
"The people in the other car were a married couple.The man was 53. James Talbott was his name. He apparently wasn't wearing hisseatbelt, she was. The police told me that when the accident happened, their SUVrolled. Mr. Talbott was partially ejected and died as a result of beingcrushed." I started to sob. I didn't want to understand. I didn't want tobelieve what my dad was saying. It's not true. It can't be. I saw their car, andthere was no damage.
It was then I realized just how dangerous driving canbe. As a teen, I had done my share of stupid things. I had driven too fast,listened to the radio too loud, and been reckless. I hadn't done any of those thenight the accident happened. I had been careful. Life is a precious thing. I hadtaken for granted that everything would always be okay and I would live happilyever after. But that night a white Blazer told me, "Wake up, little girl.Pay attention to what you have, because it can be gone in a second."