Three days before my 16th birthday we went for a bike ride in the west end of town at night. It was the end of March so not the optimal summer biking weather as the wind had a little bite to it. My Dad always rode ahead and this street is a long slope down, so after he crossed the 4 lanes from right to left.. I tried following but hesitated. The wind made my eyes all blurry and because it was dark the headlights all bled into each other when I looked behind me. The slope just made the bike go faster as I waited.. and waited. My Dad called out from the other side to me a few times to cross because I was running out of time. So at this point here in the photo, a few blocks after my Dad had crossed and I hesitated, I decided I would just cross. My Dad says it's ok so I decide I will just go really fast to be sure, because I honestly can't see anything. I bolted across and my Dad started screaming at me, so I thought he meant go faster, but actually it was to slow down. I crossed too fast and I was later told it almost looked purposefully, was heading straight in front of a car on the far left lane. The only indication I had that there was even a car there was when they slammed on the breaks and swerved at the last second. They drove up on the sidewalk to avoid me but still hit my back tire. I jumped off my bike a few feet where my Dad was looking at me in horror. I was fine. The guy from the car walked out immediately asking if we were ok and what the hell was that and why did you come out of nowhere and DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA I COULD HAVE KILLED YOU JUST NOW?
He seemed pretty scared.
I didn't hear anything after that, or care about what happened. I don't remember how much time passed before the guy got in his car again and my Dad said to get back on our bikes and ride over to the parking lot of grocery store because he needed a smoke right away. He used to smoke then, he doesn't now. I felt completely fine. I almost felt like I wasn't even involved. In fact, from the moment I saw the car I felt fine. My one and only thought from the entire thing was oddly enough all about math.. if he hits me going this fast, where will I land because there was a metal fence right where I would have landed. But I felt fine about that. The only thing I remember was that when I got back on my bike I heard a really weird shuddering noise and calmly looked down to see where it was coming from.. possibly my tire got hit worse and I didn't notice? It was actually the noise my feet were making from shaking on the pedals.
I've been through many lifesaving courses so I knew that it was because I was in shock. I thought it was interesting I was experiencing something I read about first hand. By the time we got down the two blocks my whole body was shaking and I made a comment that I wasn't even cold. Was I? My Dad looked like he was about to have a heart attack, smoked a bunch of cigarettes, calmly agreed I was in shock and we rode home.
To this day I think it's the only thought that makes me feel ok when I hear about people who die in an accident. To know there was a really good chance, maybe not 100% but still a pretty good chance, that if it had to happen they felt completely alright when it happened. Not sad, not scared, not remorseful. Not hoping for one more hour. That's about the closest I'll ever get to believing that anything at all happens after we die. 3 days later I had the best 16th birthday party ever.. everyone from all my classes signed a huge card for me, we had a spooky ghost story sleepover with all my best friends, my Dad jumped out and scared everyone so bad my friend Roxanne punched someone in the face, we had a dance party, videotaped skits, and at my request my birthday cake was chocolate Deep and Delicious.
It was better than any My Super Sweet 16.