I’ve had a difficult time writing recently because I have had two crappy events occur in a single week. The first I won’t discuss here, but I hope that my writing about the second event will help me get my mojo flowing again.
I was driving home from school after dropping off some camera equipment and I was feeling pretty good. It was Thursday, my last school day for the week, so I was looking forward to taking it easy.
Somewhere down the line, the car in front of me came to a stop so I carefully halted behind them and waited for them to turn into a residential neighborhood.
That’s when I saw this jeep speeding towards me.
It took me all of a second to realize he was not going to stop. There was a car in front of me and there was no time to get out of the way.
I slammed on my horn, all but honking in morse code for him to stop.
The jeep slammed into me going 45 miles an hour.
The glass from my back window exploded and I was thrust forward. I must have blacked out for a second because when I opened my eyes, part of my nail on my pointer finger was peeled back and the finger beside that had a chipped nail.
I peered in the rearview mirror and horror and rage consumed me. My trunk was crumbled like an accordion and all the glass in my rear windows was smashed into fine shards.
I would later learn that the reason my windows had been broken out was because at one point this guy’s jeep was inside of my car. He had hit me so hard that he flew up into my back window and had to reverse the jeep to get out of my car.
I made eye contact with him as soon as he got into the lane beside me to pull over. For a moment, I thought he was trying to flee the scene and I lost what little control I had.
“YOU ASSHOLE!” I screamed, beating my fist against the steering wheel. I was hoping that each pound would produce a shrill honk from my horn, but it wouldn’t.
I was hysterical. I couldn’t even tell if I was hurt considering I was still in shock.
Turns out the guy that hit me was 17 year-old boy that had been texting and driving.
He tried to sell this cock and bull story to the cop about how he had been changing lanes and that’s why he hadn’t seen me.
However, I can still see him charging at me in my mind’s eye and I know for a fact he did not have his turn signal on. And I distinctly remember seeing his left hand raised upwards as if he had been looking at something.
I tried to take solace in the fact that I was okay and that no one had gotten hurt. No one had been in the car with me at the time so I didn’t have to worry about anyone else.
But that still didn’t change the fact that my car, my baby, would never be driveable again.
Jenny, as I called her, was my very first car. I’d learned to drive with her, drove to my first job with her, had my first kiss with my first love in her, and made countless other memories. I decorated her with nerdy decals and hood ornaments. She was part of my identity. She was my car. She had style and personality.
Sure, this kid’s insurance (which is already high because he’s a teenage boy) is going to go through the roof and he’s probably going to get into deep crap with his parents over this. But I still didn’t have Jenny.
I never thought losing a car would be this heart-wrenching. There are people out there who have lost friends and family members in horrible ways. I shouldn’t be this distraught over a car. It’s a machine for crying out loud. And yet I was. Still am, if I’m honest.
She served me so well over the years, been with me through so much, it was like I was losing a bit of myself in the process. A part of my identity had been stripped away.
How could this happen? I hadn’t done anything wrong and this punk had destroyed something I cared deeply about.
All because he just had to see what one of his friends wrote.
The worst part is, I don’t think he gets how bad this could have been. I could have had a baby in that backseat. I could have been an elderly woman and had a heart attack or thrown out my back. He lucked out by hitting a young twenty-something. I don’t know that any of this will effect him or his future behavior. I doubt our paths will ever cross again.
My mom and I visited the wreckers where they took Jenny after the car crash one last time and…it gutted me. We threw away some trash, pocketed some CDs I’d unwittingly left in the glove compartment, got some spare change from the floorboards (occasionally cutting ourselves on the glass as we did so) and removed the steering wheel cover.
I took a few photographs for posterity. Even though she was a wreck from behind, from the front she looked just like her normal, chipper self. Don’t ask me how a car can look chipper, she just did. Her headlights were like large eyes and when I glanced back at her one final time, it felt like I was leaving the family dog at a pound.
It was like I was abandoning her.
She stared back at me, looking as new as the day I got her, silently crying out, “Don’t leave without me! Please!”
But I did. I had to. I knew from the moment I had regained consciousness from that accident that there was no way I could ever get her fixed. She was totally obliterated and her design had saved my life. Her bumper had absorbed most of the impact so I wasn’t seriously injured.
So I’m fine. Everyone’s fine. Nevertheless, I still feel like I’ve lost a loyal companion. Someone I travelled with from place to place on a daily basis. Jenny wasn’t a pet or a person, but she was a part of me that I’m going to have to let go of. I have to remember my memories aren’t confined to her. I’ll always have those moments. But I’ll never have another first car.
I miss you, Jenny.
Thanks for saving me.