"SHIT!" Xiang and I practically flew out of our seats as Jeff slammed on the breaks. "What the fuck?!" I screamed at Jeff. I sat up and look around the car. Everybody looked angry. "Andy!" Gretchen screamed, "You fuck-tard!" "What's going on?!" I exclaimed. "Andy got in a fight with Elijah and tried to jump out of the car," replied Samantha, glancing over at Elijah, who was sitting with his head in his hands. "Both of you can fucking get out and walk if you're not gonna stop acting like a buncha bastards!" growled Jeff. "Fine," said Andy. "Just tell that jerk to stop messing with me." Jeff turned to Elijah. "Can you handle that Elijah?" he said in a sing-song voice. "Whatever," replied Elijah, without moving. "Now, that we've got that settled, can we please get going?" Samantha said, irritably. "Yeah, yeah," muttered Jeff, turning back to face the wheel.
For some reason, we all seem to think we're invincible.
Especially when we're young.
I used to think I was invincible.
But then I saw the headlights.
They pierced through me like a murderer's knife through their victim's chest.
They came so fast, and were gone as quickly as they had come.
Beautiful, golden lights.
They illuminated our skin, our eyes, our hair.
We were bathing in a golden light.
And then there was the impact.
And suddenly, everything was real.
As the glass cut us, we finally realized…
We finally realized we weren't invincible.
And it took a car crash to show us.
I guess you can't really blame anybody for what happened next. Not Elijah and Andy for fighting, not Jeff for not paying attention…it was an accident. If you had to blame anybody, I guess you could blame the other driver. He was drunk. Well, most of us where drunk too, but…well, at least Jeff didn't have much to drink at the party. He was our designated driver that night.
The headlights came so fast. Gretchen screamed. I heard Jeff curse loudly. If I screamed, I couldn't hear my own voice. The headlights were so loud. It's like they were right in my face, screaming at me. Maybe if I had put my seatbelt on. Maybe if….just maybe…if I had done things differently. Maybe I would still be alive. I remember taking a deep breath right before the car hit us. I remember the impact. I can remember hearing everybody scream. I can remember Xiang jumping on top of me, and shielding me with his body. And I can remember when our car flew backwards…the skidding…the squealing of the tires…I remember Xiang flying over the seat, and into the back area of the car. I remember seeing this huge piece of something…I'm not sure what it was flying at me, along with millions of little tiny shards of glass. I remember them piercing me. I could hear my flesh ripping, I could feel every single piece slitting through my upper body. My head, my neck, my chest, my arms. So much pain. I felt my neck snap backwards, and the car tumble over on its side. All the windows shattered, and my I remember falling with the car, and my head hitting the pavement and shards of glass.
And then everything went silent. I tried to move, but it was like I was numb all over. I could here Samantha and Nadie screaming. I couldn't see out of my left eye, and I could feel blood sliding down my face. I could hear Elijah yelling…"IS EVERYBODY OKAY?! JEFF! ANDY! GRETCHEN! EVERYONE! ANSWER ME!" I opened my mouth to call out for help, but when I tried to speak, blood began to spill out of my mouth. I could hear Elijah scrambling out of the car…climbing out where the window used to be. I saw a shadow crawl across my face. "Oh…my…God…" I heard Elijah utter. I heard him gagging and sputtering…it sounded like he was puking. "Elijah!" I heard Nadie yell from somewhere far away. "Samantha's unconscious, but she's okay…Andy's okay too, from what I can see. Jeff…and…" her voice cracked. "Jeff and Gretchen…oh my God. They're all bloody…I can't tell if…Elijah…" there was a note of panic in her voice. I felt another shadow cross my face…"NO!" I heard Xiang scream. "NO!!" He knelt down beside me, screaming. I could see him looking down at me. I tried to speak, but "Augh.." was all I could manage. He pressed his hand against my cheek. "Don't try to talk…don't move, you hear? Don't move." Xiang said fearfully. I felt a wave of panic come over me. I looked up at Xiang and Elijah, whose eyes were wide, and faces bloody. I saw Nadie walk up beside them, bawling. She look down at me, and her eyes widened. She began to scream. I was horrified. I tried to move again, but this time, a sharp pain shot through my body. "CALL A FUCKING AMBULANCE!" she screeched at Elijah, who immediately reached into his pocket, pulled out a cell phone, and began to fumble it around. "GIVE ME THAT!" Nadie screamed, snatching the phone from Elijah. She frantically dialed 911, and stepped off to the side to talk to the operator. "I'll go check on Jeff and Gretchen…and, NO! What about Karin?! SHIT!" I watched his shadow run off. Xiang continued to stare down at me, breathing heavily. "Xiang…" I uttered. "My baby…" he whispered, kissing me gently on the cheek. I whimpered, horrified as to what was happening. He leaned down and whispered, "I love you, Lenci." In my ear. "I've always loved you. Ever since the first time I saw you. And I will always love you, no matter what…you're my angel." I could feel the tears beginning to well up behind my eyes. What was going on?
The next thing I heard were the sirens. I could see the orange and white lights reflecting off the glass. "There are three people up front…Jeff, Gretchen, and Karin. They're beat up pretty bad," I could hear Elijah telling the ambulance crew. He sounded so far away… Three of the ambulance personnel walked over and stood over me. They all looked at each other. One of them called for a stretcher. "You've got to help her!" I could hear Xiang screaming at them. "There's not much we can do," calmly replied one of the ambulance personnel. "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO?!" Xiang shrieked at them. "SHE HAS A FUCKING PIECEOF METAL STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF HER CHEST! YOU'VE GOTTA GET IT OUT!" Just then, another man came up and began to pull Xiang off towards one of the police cars that had recently arrived on the scene. Metal? Through my chest? I began to panic. I tried to suck in a breath of air, but I found myself unable to breathe. One of the men who had been standing over me bent down and told me to relax. "RELAX?! THERE IS A PIECE OF METAL STICKING OUT OF MY CHEST!" I wanted to scream at him. He put an oxygen mask over my face, but it didn't help. "Her left lung has been pierced," I heard the guy shout to somebody off to his right. And that's when it hit me…
I was going to die.
"Alright, sweetheart," the guy said to me, as calm as ever. "I'm going to need you to take some deep breathes." He pulled a syringe out of his bag, and inserted the needle into the vein in my left arm.
I guess what they say is true…about your life flashing right before you die.
There I was…five years old...picking all the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms cereal box.
Eight years old…getting my face painted at my school's carnival.
My thirteenth birthday party…Gretchen and I dancing around in feather boas and dresses that were way too long for us.
My mother and father sitting and chatting at the dinner table.
Xiang kissing me.
And then it was all gone.