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It Only Takes a Second

By Kimmy Singhani; For the Clock
On February 12, 2018

It Only Takes a Second

Kimmy Singhani

For the Clock

It only takes a second for your life to shift even a little bit. And it only took me a second to collide with an oncoming vehicle. It happened ten days after my eighteenth birthday, on the twenty-seventh of February. I had stayed behind after school to make up for an English test. Twenty minutes later, I’m driving my twelve- year-old Subaru Outback out of the senior parking lot. Feeling exhausted, I drive down the road outside my school, ready to relax in front of the television with a plateful of warmed up pre-frozen chicken nuggets. I raise the volume on the stereo, increasing the power of one of the songs from my Upbeat mixed CD that I made with my older brother. The beat brings me back to reality, making me feel light and energized and I catch myself freely singing along with the song’s lyrics. As I drive, dirty, mudstained snow banks cover my view of the sidewalks and border the streets. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a dark red car, in the intersection coming up on my right, turns left onto the road I’m driving on.

It only took a second. My eighteen years (and ten days) of life did not ash before my eyes and my world did not stop. On the contrary, it all happened so fast. Nothing was in slow motion and maybe if it were, I would have reacted much more e ectively. Having never been in a vexing or helpless situation as this before, my mind blanked. It was clear of any thoughts. Re exively, I try to turn the wheel away from the oncoming vehicle, only dooming me further due to the lack of function in my brain, resulting in my hands turning the wheel in the direction of the car. I had only wanted to avoid a crash but that had back red and then there was nothing I could do.

It only took a second. One second I am swerving the car in the wrong direction and the next the airbag is pressed against my face and I’m having trouble breathing. It was too late. My right knee jerks up, hitting the steering wheel. The stench of smoke ambushes my stu ed nose and the vapor clouds my vision. The driver’s side door was stuck on the side of the other car. Shocked, I put the car in park and struggled to open my crushed door. After many attempts I nally gave up and climb over the console to the passenger side in order to get outside. After scrambling outside the door, I stumbled onto my feet, nding my footing. Constantly breathing out “I’m sorry” to the other driver, I stare shocked at the mangled semblance of cars on the road in front of me. Standing to the side, onlookers consisting of students and faculty members had stopped to watch the scene unfold, one student with her phone to her ear, calling the police. Still in shock, I vaguely notice the owner of the other car in the accident walking up to me and worriedly asking me if “I’m alright”. ‘No, I wasn’t alright’, I had thought while nodding in a rmation to convey my ease. With a quivering and unsteady voice, I return the question. Soon after, I dial my brother’s number with shaky hands and with a much greater shaky voice I explain the events that had occurred.

It only took a second for my beloved Subaru, that my brother and I had named Sasha, to be declared totaled and unsalvageable. My brother walks over to me as the towing company tows Sasha away. Upon reaching home, I could not stop thinking about the accident and replaying it in my head. Recalling the memories my family share with Sasha, we talked about our adventures with her. Sasha was a part of basically my whole life. My parents bought her before I was born. My brother and I drove her when we learned how to drive and she became my car once I got my license. Sasha was there when my brother and I took road trips to places like New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and many many more places. Or when we just went on a drive, wasting gas, because we wanted to enjoy the fresh breeze whipping our hair in our faces and letting the beat drop taking us far away from reality. Sasha was more than a car to us, my brother and I. Sasha was our symbol of freedom.

It only took a second to change my life. And a second is all it needs to take. And in that second, I learned that moments are eeting. That does not mean the moments should not be appreciated. That simply means, that I should not take them for granted and instead be grateful and acknowledge them. Because before you know it, those moments are gone and they can only become memories.

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