Last May, finals were coming up and teachers were cramming in all the material they hadn’t gotten to. Nobody was ready for this sudden influx of work, especially me. My friends struggled through their work with indifference accompanied by comedic complaints about being too stressed to lighten their actual suffering. I, on the other hand, had come to a complete shutdown. Emotions, exhaustion, worries—they had all just left my being because I couldn’t take any more work.
Four weeks before school got out, I was still pushing through the complete shutdown of humanity that had overtaken my being. Every day that week I had to work on a group project at someone’s house, and Friday the ever imminent, looming threat of test in Ngo awaited me.
It was Wednesday when it happened. I, utterly exhausted, was heading home right after school, and had to collaborate with my group for a science project. Nothing seemed out of place—the usual traffic after school, the kids getting out of Masuda—it was all perfectly normal. Mom was driving, and turned at Slater and Los Jardines. Cars flew past. By the time we had reached the light and began turning it had only just turned yellow. I looked up from my slouched position on my phone and screamed—“They’re not stopping!”
The oncoming car raced through the light—void of any sentiment to slow down—it flew across the intersection. Colliding and spinning out with loud smash, I closed my eyes in the car. The next thing I knew my mother was opening my door. Screaming for help, she took in the image of my body slumped forward in the passenger’s seat. Everything was numb and buzzing at the same time, and all I could do was try my best to gather my thoughts. Did this really happen? First, can I move my legs? Hands? They’re okay, but I can’t breathe. I’m in shock. I need to calm down. I repeated this thought process, but it was like a broken radio; I couldn’t take anything in and each time I took a breath I choked on my own lungs. I recalled that you shouldn’t move right after you’re in an accident, so I just stared and watched as the policemen and firemen arrived and I could hardly speak through my coughing since the seat belt knocked the air out of my lungs. All I could do was gasp and cry out “am I okay” over and over again. At that moment everything about me equated to nothing more than a sobbing, pitiful mess.
The man’s car flipped over—but of course—the one in the wrong got off perfectly fine. Eventually, the ambulance took me to the hospital. I remember vividly the time I spent laying in the back of the ambulance as the man kept asking me questions.“Does it hurt?” “Yes.”“Where?” “I don’t know, but I can’t breathe.”
We made it to the hospital. I was laying in a bed in the hallway and the first thing I asked for was my phone. I simply told the nurse “I need to tell my group I can’t work on the project today.” I realized then that even in an eye opening time like this my values were never focused on my own life, but on my grade; emotions didn’t matter. What was of utmost importance was completing my work. I had a test in my hardest class on Friday and I couldn’t get to school to ask questions about it. Surely, there was no way I would miss a test in algebra two.
By the time I got home, the aching pain began crawling up my back and across my shoulder. I desperately wanted to go to school the next day. This was the first time in forever I felt truly excused from going to school, but that didn’t stop me from rigorously preparing for the next day. Doing homework was nearly impossible. Strenuously working in short bouts to complete my homework was my only option because I could hardly sit up.
I lost sight of what’s important in life by taking my everyday life for granted. It’s scary to think about how I could have had a terrible accident, but it never occurred to me that such a thing was possible in my life. I’ve never considered that fact that life is fleeting. While Stress takes over and we forget that life—at times—can get so hectic that we forget it’s true value. It’s almost comedic, how something so absolute can leave at any moment. Be not fooled by the facade of living, for Cruel reality sneers to those who do not think. “It can’t be helped, really. I’m sorry, it’s just that… Tomorrow has no time for you.”