When I was sixteen, I didn’t learn to drive. My dad told me I could get my license if I went to driving school, but never actually paid for driving school. I didn’t suffer much for it though. My boyfriend at the time, (who later became husband and then ex-husband) could drive, and he lived with us, so my father gave him the use of the car. It was a 1985 blue Monte Carlo. The thing was at least 10 years old, even back then, and not only was it missing the passenger side window, the drivers side door was bolted on with two latches welded to the outside of the door. Yeah, we were those assholes.
Looks aside, it got us from point A to point B, which in those days was probably not a good thing, considering. And, as my father had the use of a company car, we really had far too much freedom than teenagers really should. And, based on what we were doing most of the time, I suppose that we should be thankful the following was the worst that happened with that car.
The car also sported a dent on the passenger side of the hood, a dent that was caused by the impact of a body. Because we hit someone with that car. Yes, a person. A thirteen year old boy, to be exact.
Yeah. I will let that sink in.
To this day, if I think about it, I can still see images in startling detail. Him standing on the corner, looking right at me. Him stepping off the curb in front of us. Hitting the front of the car and going over the top inches from my face. My then-boyfriend screaming at me to get out of the car, so he could get out. Me trying to disengage the cat we had with us who had crawled up my leg on impact.
( No, I have no idea why we had the cat with us, I really don’t)
When we finally got out, it was chaos. There was blood and people screaming all around us. The boy was lying prone in the road behind our car. He had a gash in his head and his leg was very obviously broken. And scalp wounds tend to bleed profusely, so there was a pool of blood in the street around him.
People were screaming at us, accusing my boyfriend of running a red light, (he didn’t, but it was yellow) Accusing him of being drunk or on drugs. (Neither, but he very well could have been in those days, or any day, for that matter)
There is a newspaper clipping somewhere with a picture of him that sums up the way we felt that day. In it, he is sitting on the curb rocking back and forth. They caught him mid rock, with his head in his hands. I’m turned away, on some strangers cellphone, talking to my dad. Who, needless to say, is not happy. You can see the side of my face, streaked with tears.
Later on, we found out that the boy had been trying to kill himself. And decided to use us as the weapon. My fathers insurance paid for his medical bills and some psych bills but we were never sued. Or prosecuted. It really wasn’t our fault. But I can’t help remembering it now and then, and wondering what ever became of that kid. Or what drove him to step out in front of our car that day.