“I just don’t want to die without a few scars.”

Before I get into my story, I should start by explaining this prompt and where I got it. I decided to participate in Think Kit this year, which is a project started by Smallbox. The idea is to get people writing. It started with 30 days of prompts in December, 2011, to help writers develop better blogging habits for the upcoming year. There will still be 30 days of prompts this December, so get ready! But they also send out a prompt every month. If you’re interested in participating, check it out. I hope this will help kickstart my new-ish blog.

Screen shot 2014-11-20 at 5.28.00 PMNovember’s prompt is to share the story behind a scar, so here goes.

The story behind my scar

I didn’t take driver’s ed. My family couldn’t afford it, plus I didn’t even know how to go about getting into a course. My dad let me drive a couple times, but his lack of patience didn’t pair well with my nerves and terrible driving. (No offense, Dad) All my friends got their permits and licenses before me. I was left counting down the days until I could stop riding the bus. You have to wait longer to get your license if you don’t take driver’s ed.

I went to Franklin, Indiana, to take my driver’s exam. Someone had told me it was easier there. I brought a jalopy I had purchased for $500 from my older step-sister — a 1989 Plymouth.

By some miracle, I passed that exam. I think it was because the instructor felt sorry for me. He tried to roll down the passenger window, and the whole thing almost fell out. Surely the car wouldn’t last that long, then I’d be off the road again. (That story got me on Jimmy Fallon’s popular segment, Hashtags #worstcarIeverhad)

He was right. I didn’t have the car long. Flash forward: We’re headed home from our job at Fazoli’s about a week after I obtained my license. My friend Brittni sat in the passenger seat. We sang along to Fergie (get in line, haters) as we cruised down Stop 11. She only lived a couple blocks from my house. I stopped before her subdivision. A van was stopped in the lane of traffic going the other way. I couldn’t see around it as it waved me on. I went anyway. CRASH! The next thing I remember is sitting up in my car and asking Brittni if she was OK. She was fine, but I was covered in blood. The airbags had deployed and the windshield was busted. Since she seemed unscathed, I told her to run home. The one thing that was on my mind as I sat in my totaled car with a broken wrist was getting in trouble for having a passenger in my car before the 90 days were up. Whoops. Brittni left. I called my dad. The cops came. The ambulance came.

“Am I going to die?” I asked the EMT riding in the back of the ambulance with me. It was a really stupid question. I was more than fine, but my wrist was covered in blood. I was a frightened 16-year-old. When I got to the hospital, they cleaned the wound, pulling glass shards out of my wrist, stitching it up, and taking X-rays. My then boyfriend showed up with his dad. I remember his dad asking if it was OK if he looked, and then “Cool!” Men are strange.

The X-rays came back, and my wrist was broken. I took the next day off school, partly because the impound lot wouldn’t let me get my backpack from my car, but also because I was doped up on pain meds. My friends were very supportive. We were high schoolers, and this was the most dramatic thing that had happened all year! Amanda stopped by on her way to school to give me the best care package ever. She and my boyfriend stopped by again after school with Taco Bell, slushies, and notes from my friends. That’s a 16-year-old girl’s nirvana.

Soon though, the cast was gone. The boyfriend was gone. High school ended. Amanda passed away. We all move on and go our separate ways. As many others, I think I’m emotionally scarred by my high school experiences. But I’m physically scarred too.

It reminds me of the freedom of being behind the wheel for the first time. It makes me so nostalgic for those days at times. It makes me think of my first job. I’ve changed a lot since then, mostly for the better. But I don’t regret any of the experiences that shaped me into the person I am today. Having a gnarly scar is actually kind of cool, and when I look at it, I’m reminded of where I came from. Also that I SUCK at driving.

Fun side note: Stop reading now if you’re squeamish. Years later, there was a little bump on my wrist. I picked at it a lot until figuring out what it was. A piece of glass was surfacing. I went to the hospital to get it cut out, and that sucker was huge! It’s pretty terrifying. How much glass is still inside my arm?

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