I hear the clanging as the paramedic drops the crowbar onto the gravel. Reaching in, he holds my head still while another paramedic wraps a brace around my neck. The silence worries me, and I can’t turn my head to see if Mom is okay.
The next thing I know I am lying on the ground with only a thin wooden board separating me from the shards of stone beneath. Somebody tapes my forehead to the stretcher as the hail continues to beat down on my face. I try to turn away but the brace reminds me, once again, that I can’t. I want to see what is happening but my only defense against the angry sky is to close my eyes.
The sound of raining ice-rocks drowns a distant siren. The paramedic returns and begins to ask me dumb questions.
What is your name? Denise
How are old you? Sixteen.
When is your birthday? Today.
I interrupt the interrogation. “Is my mom okay?”
The paramedic evades my question. In the shortest terms, he says that we are being transported to the nearest hospital. It’s an hour away. The stretcher then wobbles as they pick me up and carry me to a vehicle with flashing lights.
Forced to stare at the ceiling of the ambulance, I strain to see with my ears as the paramedics rush around us in a curious mix of control and speed. I hear my mom answering similar questions. She sounds okay, but the concern in her voice troubles me.
A flurry of detached voices and hushed whispers surround us. Nobody will explain what is happening, and the drive takes longer than an hour. Fear consumes me more than the pain.
My sixteenth birthday.
We were supposed to spend the day shopping. Just Mom and me. But a sudden hailstorm froze the highway, causing someone to crash into us. Now it’s a trip to the hospital instead of the mall.
Hours later, the doctors release us, but we still wait a while longer for my stepdad to make the hundred-mile-drive. We need a ride home.
Banged up and bruised, we are sore and tired, but thankful that only the car was permanently damaged. Her brand new car. Totaled. Thank God I wasn’t driving. I would never hear the end of it for the rest of my life if I had crashed Mom’s new car on the first day of getting my driver’s license.
For the next few days, I will take a brief hiatus from blogging, so I can devote myself to party planning. If you have any ideas on ways to make memories, please pass them along.