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Four Minutes, Part 2
I took a moment to process what had happened. The first thought to run through my head was the unavoidable fact that my parents were probably going to kill me. Just two weeks shy of having my license for a year and I cause my car an unknown amount of damage less than five minutes from home. Frantically, I patted my body, examining every limb looking for some damage but oddly everything seemed fine. Save for the tiny drop of blood that was sliding down my one of my pinky fingers, nothing seemed out of place. I took a deep breath and carefully moved myself to the passenger seat. There it was: a shooting pain split down the left side of my body. I’d probably wake up tomorrow with bruises galore. I picked my phone up and grabbed my purse, but my hand hesitated on the handle. Did I want to leave the car? It was at a weird slant, stuck in a ditch three or so feet deep. Broken branches and leaves hid any damage there may have been to the front of my car. Judging by the state of the window, I could tell it most likely was not a pretty site.
"Hey, are you okay down there?" a voice shouted. I swung my head around, wincing slightly at the pain. A large dumpster truck was stopped on the road. A portly man with a beard was leaning out the window.
"Do you need help?" he asked. I opened the car door and got out, stumbling a bit as I stood up.
"I crashed my car," I said, stupidly. As if he could not see the wreckage in front of him.
"Do you want me to call someone?"
"I just called my mom, she’s on her way." He nodded.
"Do you want to wait down here, or do you want me to give you a life to the end of the road?" I looked at him wearily, hugging my arms to my chest. If there was one thing my parents had pounded into my head over the years, it was the rule of Stranger Danger. Never get into odd vehicles with odd people. He seemed to realize my internal battle. The man pulled a card out of his wallet and held it out towards me. "It’s okay, I’m from Animal Care and Control."
Still unsure, I slowly made my way to the truck. I took the I.D. out of his hands and examined it as if I knew how to tell if it was fake or not.
"Do you want my to take you to the end of the road to wait?" I handed him back the card, nodding. He pushed the door open and scooted back to the driver’s seat. I struggled to pull myself up the high cab. He restarted the truck and continued driving down the road. My eyes followed the tiny blue car as we drove by it.
"Thank you," I murmured, so quietly I was not even sure he heard it.
"Don’t worry about it. You know, it’s the craziest thing, my son crashed a little further back on the road not too long ago. It happens all the time. They should just close it off, it’s not safe." I nodded in response. Still dazed from the accident, I was only half-paying attention. He stopped the car when we reached the end of the road, tapping his fingers awkwardly on the steering wheel. "Hey, do you want a kitten? I’m on my way to get a stray out of a tree right now."
I looked over at him, my eyes widening. My brain was processing things slower than usual. I shook my head, wanting to tell him that I had just gotten a new cat the week before, an orange tabby from the same organization he works for. Just as I was about to, a golden van, dusty from the dirt road, turned on to the road.
"That’s my mom!" I exclaimed. He stuck his hand out the driver’s window to signal my mom to stop. I was already walking around the front of his truck.
"She’s up here," I heard him say as I reached the other side of the truck. My mom had a worried look on her face. I walked as quickly towards the van as I could. My mom shouted a ‘thank you’ to the man as I slumped into the passenger seat. One of the little girls my mom babysat was playing in her car seat. She looked up when I closed the door, her eyes wide with happiness.
"Bit-knee!" she exclaimed. "I had chick nuggets for lunch!"
I gave her a weak smile, but my attention was soon turned back towards the road as we neared my car. My mom glanced over at me.
"Are you okay?" she questioned, her face plastered with worry. I opened my mouth to respond, but stopped when I heard sirens. We both looked out the rear window to see a sheriff’s car coming to a stop behind us.
"What’s he doing here?" I asked. I didn’t call 911. Or did I? I couldn’t remember.
"That guy from Animal Care and Control must have called it in." I stared, my gaze intent, as the officer approached. My mom put the window down.
"I got a call that there was an accident. Was that for you girls?" he asked. I couldn’t tell if his tone was unkind.
"Yes, my daughter’s car hit the tree," my mom replied. The man turned his attention to me.
"That you?" I nodded silently. "How fast were you going?" I paused, wracking my brain trying to remember.
"10, I think. Maybe 15. Not any faster than that though, it was raining and I don’t like driving." I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t believe me.
"Are you sure?"
"I…I…" I wasn’t sure.
"Brittany doesn’t normally speed, we got on her all the time for going under the speed limit," my mom added, trying to ease the tension.
"Were you texting?" he continued.
"No, no I didn’t-wasn’t-no." But had I? I know I sent one when I was stopped at the stop sign. Had I sent another message after I turned onto the rough road? Why couldn’t I remember? Either way, I knew I hadn’t convinced him otherwise. He patted the top of the van.
"Well, I’m going to call in a tow truck, and then check out the hill real quick. Do you have anything left in the car?" My mom beat me to the response.
"She has crap everywhere in it, we’ll go ahead and get it out." The officer nodded. He walked back to his car and picked up a cell phone.
"You just crashed your car, you would think he could be a little less of a jerk," she scoffed. She turned back to the little girl sitting behind us, still oblivious in her own world. "Annie, honey, I’m going to help Bit-knee clean her car out, you stay right there okay?"
"Okay DeeDee!" she chirped, not even taking the time to look at us.
"Mom," I said. She stopped, the car door half open, and looked over at me. "Mom, I wasn’t texting." She seemed taken off-guard when I said that. "I wasn’t." My voice was more sure this time. Slowly, she began to nod.
"I know, sweetie. I know." We got out of the van and began moving all of the belongings from my car. Soon, the sheriff came back from the bottom of the hill and walked over to us.
"Well, it looks like you hung on for quite a bit there. There’s obviously new gravel that’s been put down in the past couple of weeks, so that was most likely the main contributing factor, seeing as how your car is so little." He pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. "This is the lot we’ll take the car to, you can pick it up whenever you want. It’s off St. Joe." My mom took the paper and smiled.
"Thank you so much for your help, officer."
"You should take her to the hospital and get her checked out, I’ll wait here until the tow truck comes."
We finished getting my stuff and started to drive to the hospital. When the car started moving, I could feel my chest tightening. My breathing quickened and I knew that the tears were close. I turned my head towards the window in hopes that my mom couldn’t see. It was to no avail. I didn’t have to look, I knew that she was glancing at between me and the road.
"It wasn’t your fault."
But wasn’t it?
Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah
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