Memories It was a hot, sunny morning and it seemed as if everyone in the world had some place to be.

I was riding shotgun in my dad’s new car, the Acura Vigor, as we drove into town. He was forced to buy this car when my step mom got into an accident with a police officer. Our old car was totaled beyond any repair and she came out extremely embarrassed, but physically ok. But that’s not what concerned me when I first heard about it. As soon as my dad told me the news, I immediately asked him, “What kind of person pulls out in front of a speeding police car, sirens wailing, without thinking “Oh wait! This is really stupid!”?” With all jokes aside, I was actually concerned with her health but my dad assured me she was fine. So back to the new Acura my dad bought. I suppose ‘new’ isn’t the term I should be using. No, ‘new’ is probably the opposite, since this car is an ancient pile of crap. Not only is it probably a good two or three years older than me, but it’s also way too small for me to sit it without losing all of my dignity.

It’s not that I just simply can’t fit in it at all, but it always reminds me of one of those large, muscular body builders with that tough as nails look on his face. No, this isn’t some sick fantasy of mine, bare with me. Imagine this large, hulk-like creature try to fit into any car really, but for the sake of exaggerating I’ll say a Mini Cooper. So you see this colossus being walking through a parking lot, basically causing earthquakes with every step, and then he stops and attempts to squeeze his self into this puny vehicle. Well right there he has pretty much lost any and all credibility of his tough-guy stature, but it’s not over yet. Once he has actually achieved fitting his mass of a body into this car, he starts it and pulls out of the parking space. Permitting that he can actually make it to the road

without dying of embarrassment, he drives into the street and stops at a red light. Two cars drive up on either side, one is a Station Wagon with an old lady in it and the other is a Mini Van full of girl scouts. The instant they pull up, the only thought going through this man’s head would be, “Turn green, oh please God let it turn green!” Too late. Both cars are drowned with the sound of laughter at the sight of this large man sitting in the comically small vehicle. He has lost any and all of his remaining dignity then floors his small car into the nearest brick building.

Lucky him. Sadly, I don’t have the luxury of death at this moment, instead I get to listen to hardcore rock songs that my middle-aged dad thinks is ‘cool’. Not even close. So back to the car situation, now I‘ve always wished to be tall or even average height, but I would gladly be 4 feet tall right now. My legs were squashed up under the dashboard because the makers obviously though it was a ridiculous thought to ever want leg room. My knees were jammed up and rubbing against the faux-leather interior, which was way more uncomfortable than you would think. And I’m fairly certain that there was no cushion underneath the seat covers anymore. You could only imagine the enjoyment I was having. So as I slumped back in the chair, I finally asked my dad where in the world he was taking me. Earlier this morning, I’m guessing around 5 or 6 o’clock, he had decided to barge into my room and wake me up for some random escapade into Fayetteville. I was much too tired to actually ask where we were headed at the moment, but now I became increasingly concerned at how long the drive was. He answered, “I told you this yesterday, don’t you remember? We’re headed down to the old house to finally patch up that hole in the ceiling so we can sell it.” “Actually no dad,” I thought to myself, “I don’t remember that at all. In fact I seem to

‘remember’ you saying “Hey bud, do you ‘want’ to go to the old house with me tomorrow to get it ready to sell?” at which time I told you “Not really but have fun!”” In reality I simply answered , “No I don‘t remember that.”

Sometimes I wonder if parents actually tell their kids anything, or if they just think they do and then get mad when their children have absolutely no idea what they’re yelling about. They’re so old. I bet their memory has gotten to the point to where they can’t even remember that they were supposed to remember about something in the first place. Wow, I’m so confused about what I just said that if I hadn’t written it down then I would have forgotten it. No, I bet sometimes they just like being the adult in the situation and making us kids look incompetent. I bet secretly parents just make up random stuff for kids to ‘forget’ so that they come out looking smarter. Too bad their children just think they’re old.

Oh yeah, I forgot what we were talking about for a second. Ironic much? Anyway, so somewhere along the way, the road stopped being a four-lane and became a very narrow, never ending, two lane back-road of Hell. I’m pretty sure we had been driving for a good two years when we finally saw signs of life again, unfortunately for me still being in the Vigor. We decided to stop and get something to eat at Wendy's. And although I was feeling hungry, I didn’t even want to know what I looked like. After being rudely waken up so early in the morning, I just put on some clothes and got into the car, not even thinking about how incredibly terrible I might look. Before I even pulled down the small mirror above the dashboard, I knew I wasn’t going to want to walk in and order. And after looking in the mirror, there was no way my dad was getting me out of that car. If you’ve ever seen one of those Chia Pets then you

probably could take a guess at what my hair looked like now. One major difference however, is that one side of my hair, where I had been laying down, was completely flat, while the rest was just everywhere. Perfect. And if that wasn’t enough, I had bags under the bags under my eyes. These weren’t your average every day sleepy eyes, no, I looked as if I hadn’t slept in over 2 years. Then, after squinting my sagging eyes, I noticed a huge clump of those annoying little eye boogers. Awesome. That is the most appetizing thing I have ever heard of. I’ll spare you the details of removing the clump, but needless to say I got rid of it. So in the end it wasn’t too bad. Along with the new red scrape marks in the corners of my eyes, I looked like a evil eyed, grumpy, cramped Chia pet. I couldn’t wait to go inside. I did my best trying to flatten my hair on the way in but my dad kept saying, “Stop it looks fine, it looks fine I’m serious.”

Yeah right dad. I think secretly he wanted me to look terrible so he could get a good laugh about it later with the rest of our family. I remember one time we were on a six hour road trip to Florida for our annual beach visit and I had made the terrible mistake of falling asleep. I woke up to us pulling into a Cracker Barrel. Although I was tired, I yelled, “Sweet!” Cracker Barrel is such an awesome place. Half of it is the restaurant while the other half is a super cool store. Every time we go we always play with this parrot toy that repeats everything you say to it, except in a really high pitch voice. We always laughed so hard, until one time we pressed play and it said something that someone had told it before we came. Our parents told us never to repeat those words so I’ll skip the rest of that little story. Anyway, so we had walked into the building and my sister and I walked over to the toys and started playing and laughing. Then this little girl with her mom walks over and starts laughing hysterically while pointing at me.

At first I laughed too, she was cute I thought maybe she was just too young to understand that no one had actually done something funny. But then I realized she was just too young to learn not to laugh at other people when their hair looks like a clown wig and their face looks like Jason with his mask off. Rude little girl. I ran over to my dad and yelled, “Why didn’t you tell me I looked so stupid?” He responded by laughing pretty much like the little girl did. I think I vaguely remember crying after that.

So back to the present. We walked into Wendy’s and ordered our food. I ordered the manliest, most fattening thing on the menu, the Baconator and a large Root Beer. That was the best tasting breakfast I think I had ever eaten. But then my dad went and ruined the man moment by ordering a girly little side salad. “What is wrong with you?” I asked disappointed. His excuse was, “Hey don’t mock me, I’m old and not very hungry.” Wow. Coolest guy ever. But I guess I don’t really have much room to talk since I didn’t quite finish my burger. I know, I know, what kind of sissy, little nancy-boy can’t even finish one Baconator? As if my self esteem could go any lower after the Vigor experience. I’m pretty sure I hit the teenage version of rock bottom. And I say teenage because I got over it pretty quick and went on with my life. After finishing our breakfast, we walked back out to the car. “Joy!” I thought, “I get to ride even longer in this metal death trap.” I climbed onto the car and shut the door. My dad hadn’t made it to his door yet so I took this moment to switch the radio stations. Hardcore Rock is beyond lame, so I turned it to everyone’s favorite, Q 100. We began driving and the radio was

still on 99.7 so I figured either my dad was too old to remember, or he didn’t care. I was listening to some new song when I began thinking to myself again. “You know, maybe I’m being too harsh about this car. I suppose it’s not the worst choice. I mean I could actually be the Hulk in a Mini Cooper.” I found that if I put the seat all the way back and turned a little to the side, then my legs weren’t rubbing against the leather! That was pretty much the first happy moment of the morning. “This car isn’t too bad once you get passed the size and broken AC.” I guess in reality if I wanted it to be a little cooler in the car I could just roll down the window. But the handle was one of those old crank-turn handles. Yeah this car sucks.

I remember when I was a little kid, my sister and I would have so much fun with those little handles. We would each get into either side of the car and count to three. On three, we would begin cranking the handle as fast as we could and whoever got the window all of the way down first would win. I won every single time except for the very first time we played. My sister thought she was the smartest thing in the world and tricked me into turning the handle the other way while she cranked on to victory. My dad always told me “Righty Tighty Lefty Loosy” which now that I think about it is very lame. And because I was so young I had forgotten which way would roll it down. My sister said, “Remember, turn it right to roll up!” I never trusted my sister after that. I’m surprised I even believed her that time because I sang the song in my head, “Lefty Tighty Righty Loosy.” Wow I was a dumb kid for believing that. So as you can well imagine, I began cranking to the right as hard as I could. But sadly enough it didn’t budge at all. I thought at first that I was just an extreme weakling until I looked

over to see my sister’s window already half-way rolled down. And to my surprise, she was cranking it to the left! I yelled one of those words that the repeating parrot had told us. Then my sister began to cry and told my parents what I said. I guess I take back what I said earlier about falling asleep. This was definitely my worst mistake ever. I won’t go into detail here either only because I don’t know the extent of what some people would consider child abuse, and my parents are good people so I’ll just move on.

So driving in the Vigor still, I estimated about twenty more minutes of driving until we would finally get to the house. I cranked down the window only slightly and let the breeze circulate through the car. Now the car was much easier to tolerate. I began thinking again that maybe the Acura wasn’t too bad. “Maybe I’m just too critical of a person. I should look at the positives.” I searched around the car for anything that could convince me that the car wasn’t a total piece of junk. “Oh yeah! The sound system is pretty nice.” My dad had ripped out the old stereo and put in one of those brand new Sirius radios and new speakers in the back and front. It sounded beautiful and that song I was listening to reminded of just how great it was. “I’m definitely not giving this car enough credit,” I continued thinking, “Sure, it’s kind of small. And sure, it’s a terrible color. And maybe it doesn’t have a working air conditioner, but a lot of cars don’t. At least it has working windows, an awesome stereo system, and great gas mileage. In fact,” I thought more intrigued by the car then ever before, “I wouldn’t mind getting something like this for my first car when I turn sixteen. I guess my dad isn't so lame either, i mean after all he had to choose this car and take the ridicule for it.” I kept thinking these positive thoughts as my dad turned onto the highway.

Or at least I think I remember all of that happening.

At the moment my dad and I were actually laying in two soft, white beds right next to each other. I couldn’t see much except for an I.V. hooked up to my arm and bandages wrapped around one of my legs. I turned my head and saw my dad with the same-looking I.V. hooked up and a few bandages around his chest. I recall having a massive headache and seeing a nurse walk in every two or three minutes and giving me a shot. I could only think it was a pain killer for the headache, but who knows what it could have really been for. I couldn’t remember anything. It felt as if the entire road trip up until the point when my dad turned onto the highway was a dream. He made the turn, then everything had gone black. After a few hours of laying in that bed I finally got the strength to talk and called for a nurse. She ran into the room with my sister and step mom close behind. “Do you need something? Water?” She asked nervously. “N-no.” It still hurt to talk. “Wh-what’s going on? Why are w-we here?” My step mom walked forward, “Sweetie, your father got in a car accident on the highway, don’t you remember?” Remember? A car accident? Why can’t I remember this? What happened? I had never felt so lost in my life. I tried so hard to say something else to my step mom but I was too focused trying to recall anything from those last few moments in the car. Nothing. I guess the extra strain was too much for me to handle at the moment and I passed out.

My dad and I were driving down a basically empty road, the song was finally ending and

I remember wanting to listen for the name of it so I could buy it later. My dad flipped on his blinker, which on the vigor was an actual blinking arrow instead of the traditional flashing light. I rolled my eyes in both pity and amazement at how lame this car is. He turned onto the highway and began pulling into the middle lane. Suddenly I could here a large screeching noise blasting louder than our speakers and I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a large black object moving in our direction. I turned my head in time to see the grill of a Ford F150 flying toward my door. I recall my dad yelling, “Shit!” then jerking the wheel to the left. The impact sent my body in one direction and my head in the other. My chest got slammed into my seat belt while my head crashed into the airbag. The entire time I could hear the scraping of hundreds of metal shards tearing through each other as if they were two lions fighting for territory. Then it all went black.

My eyes flew open and I felt like I was drenched in sweat. There was no use in trying to sit up, if it didn’t send a wave of stings through my body then it made the headache worse. I tried to breathe slower to calm my racing heart and I looked over at my dad’s bed. His sheets were empty. I turned to look for my step mom and sister but they weren’t there either. I rang for the nurse and asked her where everyone was. Her face flushed pale and she rushed out of the room. Heart beat's getting faster again. A little while later, my step mom walked in and kneeled down beside my bed. I saw in her tear filled eyes what she was about to tell me and I knew. I’ll never be able to forget that look.

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