By: Cassie Moore, Editor-In-Chief
When the light flicked green and the white Civic in my rear view mirror jolted into my back bumper, all I could do was shout the f-word at the top of my lungs.
Swim practice had been killer.
Four sets of eight 200 IMs. Sprints off the block. None of us swam fast enough. Coach had kept us past six.
In the car, limp hair dripped down my spine, soaking through two layers of sweatshirts. The heater in my Toyota Camry (Alan, recently celebrating his twenty second birthday) was, as usual, acting more like an air conditioner than a heater. My fingers stuck numb to the steering wheel, month old fly paper.
This was peak swim season. Also peak snow season, peak slacker season, and peak exhaustion season.
So screaming curses at no one in particular after being rear-ended was just the immaculately crafted, sugar rose on top of the cake.
My car idled on the highway. Honking wrenched me from whatever stupor I’d found myself in; I remembered in a flash that I was the one who actually controlled the car. I threw it in gear, popped the clutch, and prayed to the heavens that nothing was so wrong with my vehicle it wouldn’t move.
The image of a sopping wet high school girl trying to push her mismatched red and black Camry out of the road skipped through my mind’s eye.
Sorry! Sorry, pardon me, I just gotta push my piecer off the street through three feet of snow!
I shuddered, and eased on the gas, praying I’d be able to get off the road. At that moment, I hadn’t really processed the whole situation yet. Alan inched forward, much to my relief. Around me, the honking subsided and the late rush hour participants chugged further towards their destinations.
I chugged into the nearest Arby’s parking lot.
The white car behind me followed, and my heart leaked down to my toes. Oh my God, oh my God. What if some drunk old man had just rear ended me? What if I got out and he didn’t speak English? What if this was some kind of pedophilic movie scheme to get me out of my car?
I glanced frantically at the greasily glowing Arby’s windows and the few vacant cars in the parking lot. We were on the highway at a mediocrely busy intersection. It should be fine. This should be fine. I just had to remember what to do. Insurance? Right, get their info, and police. Oh man, this was like those nineties short films we watched in Health freshman year. Did I need to call the police? Should I call the police?
Oh my God I was seconds away from stepping out of my car to accuse a serial killer of rear ending me.
I almost felt like dropping another nice, fat f-bomb.
The car door slammed behind me. I jumped up and down with the cold. In my right hand I held my car keys, index finger brushing the trigger of my bedazzled pepper spray bottle. My arms felt like lead from all that stupid butterfly. Right then, I wouldn’t be able to deck my little brother, much less an assailant.
I waited. Bated breath curled dragons of smoke around my head. The driver’s door of the white car opened.
“Oh my God.”
“Oh my God!”
Lexi Harbin stared back at me in shock, looking just as absolutely terrified as me. I had seen her not even twenty minutes before, swimming in the lane next to mine.
“I was so scared you’d be someone else,” Lexi’s mouth hung open as she rushed up to me, rubbing her arms just as I was.
By this point my hair had frozen to my forehead, creating a helmet of chlorine as we exchanged information as fast as possible.
With the relief that washed over my skin, I couldn’t care less about my icy hair.
“Girl, don’t even talk to me about being scared.”