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5am on I-75

October 21, 2016

 There's something about driving down the long strip of highway at 5am, listening to music, trying to stay awake after a traumatic moment that makes you think about things. How vastly different things can be within minutes to hours. How one minute you're in Cincinnati, partying with people at a big palooza, to being in a different city an hour away trying not to break down in an emergency room as your best friend grabs your arm and says "I love you".
 I don't exactly know what caused the event that got me a 2:30am call while I was in the middle of Waffle House but all I know is one second I was sitting at the counter, the next I was on the highway heading north. I know to people who were with me during this incident I probably seemed calmed and collected but internally I was far from it. I was the one everyone involved in this incident turned to because I was somehow able to pull off this calm demeanor. Which is what I've noticed I'm able to do in incidents like this. I'm the one who is externally holding it together, not crying, speaking calmly, comforting others. While internally I'm a god damn mess thinking the worst.
 I'm not going to get into details on what happened because it's not my story to share, but I wanted to share my thoughts that I was thinking while driving down I-75 towards home at 5am. While one person slept in the passenger seat, another tried not to fall asleep in the back, and I (for the first time ever) drove down a highway.

 I realized how easy life can change, and how easy life can possibly be taken away, or become drastically more serious in the blink of an eye. One minute you are talking about boys at Waffle House at 2am, just ordered your food and are looking over photos you took an hour before. You're talking about how one guy you like is getting on your nerves, how the guy down the counter is sort of cute, and the one next to your new friend is totally crushing on her. Then the next minute your phone rings and you debate answering it, figuring it's a drunk call, because you just had a prank one minutes before. But you answer it and hear sobbing on the other end and a horrible sentence you never want to hear again. Instantly you're outside trying to control the situation and thinking of your next move before you can even get yourself to take another breath. As you're on the phone with one friend telling them what move to make, you're texting another (that's aware of what's going on) your game plan, all while walking inside to pull out the people with you. That's what I did and I'm surprised I pulled off such a quick 'rescue mission'.
 I realized while walking down Ohio Avenue that this horrible incident, this bad thing, might be the last thing that ever happens to my best friend. I've had this feeling before with the same girl, thinking maybe the last time I saw her was the last time I saw her. I didn't voice this of course, this time or the last time I thought this, I didn't want to scare the people I was with. But internally I thought of if it had happened. What if I, or the police, get to her to late? What if this all happens to fast and I can't fix it? What if what I dreaded happening to her last year happens now?
 I've had the world flip upside down on me before, Hell it just happened to me in a smaller way a week or two after this night. And I've had it happen so much worse before, but I was slightly prepared for it. But to think how easily your life can go from parties at Waffle House to an emergency room trying to keep it together as you leave your best friend for the night is terrifying. I know how fragile life is and how much we take it for granted but I'm always shocked when I get a reminder on how temporary everything and everyone is. It shakes you up inside, realizing it, when it finally hits you. It just shakes you up inside and you want to take this reminder and grasp on to it tightly so you remember to take advantage of life while you can. And sometimes you do and its great, and other times you only do for a week or so before going back to your ordinary life. Until the next time you get a reminder of course.

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