Saturday, January 30, 2010

Second Chances

Thursday morning I got up to the sound of my alarm clock and went through my morning routine. Showered, got dressed, put on my makeup, and packed my lunch. I kissed my sleeping fiance goodbye, and headed off to work.

I made it exactly five miles. The roads where I live twist and turn, roll up and down hills, snaking away towards the city where everything finally becomes flat and straight. Going down and around a steep curve, the steering on my car felt oddly loose. One second later, the car was spinning out of control, and finally stopped when it hit a guardrail.

I'd hit a rather large patch of black ice. The entire road was slick with it, so once my car started sliding, there never was a time where it was off the ice. Unfortunately the fact that it was on a downhill curve meant that momentum took over and the car got out of control so badly and so fast that I barely had time to think before it was over.

I hit the emergency button on my OnStar and summoned police. An off-duty officer also happened to be passing by, and he sat there with me and reassured me. While we were sitting there, watching the morning turn from black to grey, another car came hurtling down the curve and spun into the side of the hill. They were able to drive away, at least.

It was over very quickly, really. Police came and went, the wrecker came for my car, and it was extracted from the guardrail and loaded up. I sat in my fiance's car and watched as the police swept away the pieces of my headlights from the road. 45 minutes was all that the entire process took, from the wreck to finding myself at home, stripping off my work clothes, rubbing away my makeup. My car sat in the driveway, its front end crumpled, headlights nothing but wires and smashed bulbs.

I saved for three years to buy that car. The money I made from my first major jewelry sale was the money I opened the savings account with. I researched cars online and drove my old car until it was on the verge of falling apart. I paid over half the cost of my new car in cash, and it felt so good to make that first major purchase in my life. I'd saved all the money myself, not taking help from my parents. I only had to take out a small loan to finance the rest. It would have been paid off this year.

I'm hoping they can fix it, that they don't have to total it. I don't want another new car right now. I want MY car back. The car I saved for and researched and finally drove off the lot in, thrilled at having something that didn't stall or leak rainwater from the doors, something I could call reliable, that started in the cold weather and didn't overheat when it was hot outside.

Of course insurance ruled the accident to be my fault. My deductible is high, but not unmanageable. I'd pay it to have that car back. I'm just waiting to hear if I do get to have it back, or if they'll decide it's not worth fixing. Three years of saving, two years of driving, one second to lose it. I wish I had a second chance with that morning. I'd have taken another road.

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