What’s been one of the scariest (in a terrifying or humorous sense) things you’ve ever experienced?
Well, I try to avoid scary moments as much as possible. I'm no thrill seeker (I leave that to my husband), I don't thrive off adrenaline, I tend to avoid making rash decisions. I try always to err on the side of caution (sometimes to a fault). In short, I'm a pretty level-headed gal.
But, at the tender age of 15, when faced with taking the long route or a short cut, I took the short cut and got burned. What happened turned out to be pretty darn scary, indeed.
School had ended for the day. I was waiting around for cheerleading practice to start and found myself a little hungry. A fellow teammate and I decided we would make a quick run to Wendy's, which was across the street from the high school. (Don't you miss the days when a frosty and fries could be considered a guilt-free afternoon snack?)
It was fall and a little on the cool side. I was dressed in an oversized sweater (gotta love those old fashion trends), a pair of black Bermuda shorts and black dress flats. I hadn't brought a coat that day. We walked outside and headed toward the street. It was cold. I hate being cold. As we walked across the parking lot, I noticed that really it was a much more direct route to Wendy's if we skipped the crosswalk and just headed across the street. Because, after all, using the crosswalk would have added an extra 15 minutes to this little trip -- and that would mean an extra 15 minutes of being cold.
Now, the friend I was with, we'll call her Stacy, was also a very level-headed girl. She pointed out that it was a four-lane road, with a turn lane in the middle. Perhaps we ought to use the crosswalk. No, I assured her. I had done this a few times with friends. We'll cross the first two lanes, wait in the turn lane and then cross the other two lanes. Stacy wasn't sure, but after some more gentle peer pressure, she agreed.
So, there we were. At the edge of the road. There was a lot of traffic, but we found an easy opening and crossed the first two lanes with no problem. As we were waiting in the turn lane to cross the second half of the road, a steady stream of cars continued to whizz by. That was when it crossed my young pubescent mind that maybe this wasn't the best idea. I kept looking for an opening to cross and didn't see one. I started to panic. And then -- Halleujah! -- I saw a car put its right turn signal on. It was going to turn in to one of the restaurants before Wendy's. I saw my shot and took it.
Stacy tried to grab my sweater to pull me back. She realized the car wasn't going to turn where I thought it was going to turn. And, after running a few feet, I realized the same thing. I tried to stop, but those darned dress flats...
That's when I slipped.
My legs caught under the front left tire. The car skidded to a stop pushing me down the road in the process. I remember distinctly thinking, "Oh my gosh -- someone please STOP the car." And poor Stacy, the one who wanted to use the crosswalk, had a front row seat so she could watch the whole thing. I still feel horrible about that to this very day.
Everything after that moment is fuzzy -- some of it has been completely erased from my memory (they say that's a coping mechanism). I remember the car coming to a stop. I remember the older woman who was driving the car stepping out and putting her hands to her face. I remember the ambulance arriving. Most of all, I remember the strongest urge I had to just stand up, brush myself off, apologize and walk away. I was going to be late for practice. I remember even telling the paramedic, "I'm fine really. I'm sorry to have caused all this trouble. I'm okay. I'm just going to get up."
And then I saw my legs (remember, I was wearing shorts?). I wasn't going anywhere.
I'll spare you the gory details. Suffice it to say, I suffered burns on my shins and knees. My right ankle needed to be skin grafted. The skin had been burned away completely.
The policeman who had arrived on the scene, later told my mom that I was incredibly lucky. The car that hit me was a Cadillac. If I had flipped over a car that big, I probably wouldn't have survived. The fact that the driver had the presence of mind to step on the brakes (thus locking the wheels) prevented the car from rolling over me. Today, you can still see the four inch scar on my ankle, but the others that ran up my legs have faded. Thankfully, I have no lasting problems.
And I consider that nothing short of a miracle.
Part of this meme includes tagging five people to write about their scariest moments. So, I tag:
Kendra at A Superhero, Princess & Monkey
Tracey at Just Another Mommy Blog
Rachel at A Southern Fairytale
Kristen at We are THAT Family
And...if anyone else wants to play along, please do! Just let me know in the comments so I can read your scary story.