All I could smell were the fumes. I couldn’t move to open my door, or my window. I kept trying to undo my seat belt even though it was already off but I was still feeling it across my body. The air bag taunted me. I couldn’t recognize the street when I looked up and I was afraid to open my door.
It felt like the fumes were suffocating me. I didn’t hear much of anything. My mind was a complete blank, my entire body shaking. I saw police cars and ambulances and thought “I should get out of their way.”
Then I remembered they were there for me.
I finally got out of my car and told the EMTs I was fine. Just shook up. Then I finally saw the damage. The fluids…the front of my car totally annihilated. My bumper lying down the street. Cars going around me. I looked inside and was surprised to see the air bag. I couldn’t remember it.
Once I put my phone together and moved to the side of the road, there was only one number I called. The moment I heard his voice was when I started crying. He told me he was on his way.
The rest is a blur. I remember the very kind police officer letting me sit in her car. I remember having to take everything out of my car before it got towed away because it could be totaled. The police officer drove me around the harbor until the Boy got there to pick me up. She listened to me ramble about my family and how I had just moved out and I couldn’t call my dad because if I had, I would probably never make it back to DC. I told her about how I’ve only been with my boyfriend for a little over a month and he didn’t hesitate to come pick me up.
“That’s a good man.” she said. “Have you ever been to the National Harbor?”
“Well, it’s really pretty.”
“Yeah, what a way to see it the first time.”
“Hey…things happen. At least you’re OK.”
Because if I had hit my brakes a nanosecond later, I wouldn’t be OK. All I did was go to Alexandria to pick up a Halloween costume from my friend. I was so excited that I didn’t even mind that I took a wrong turn and ended up on 95. All I’d need to do was get on 295 and head to DC…then I took a wrong exit but it was OK. I just needed to get back on 295. I passed a green light and was focused on the sign for my exit. I didn’t see the red light until it was too late. Then I saw the car coming at me from the left and hit the brakes.
I wasn’t even distracted. My phone wasn’t in my hand. The radio wasn’t even on. All I was focusing on was finding my way home.
It just happened.
I may have survived the accident but I’m not sure if I’m going to survive telling my dad.
If I had just stayed home.
This morning, walking to the metro, I cringed at every intersection. I couldn’t raise my head up because I didn’t want to see cars. All I wanted was to crawl back into bed and never have to get in a car ever again.