Gabrielle L

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Sounds of sirens play on the tv. A young boy is calling his mom, crying, saying that he made a mistake. I look at my phone and out of the corner of my eye I see on the screen a wrecked car and a white sheet on the road, covering a body. How awful that that must happen to people who don’t pay attention. How sad. Luckily, that will never happen to me. Taking in a few more seconds of pity, eventually I change my attention. I mute the voice mid sentence “This could be-” and go back to who posted what today. Sounds of sirens pass me while I drive. I’m curious, just like every other driver is, to see what has happened, what’s causing the traffic. When the line moves and the atmosphere in my car is silent, my eyes follow a car wreck as I go by. A couple of adults crying on the sidewalk, a police man talking to a teen with an empty look in her eyes, shock. The cars are smashed, crumpled like a ball of paper. There’s a gurney and a white sheet covering the body. Pity. How sad. Never would I let that happen. I turn on the radio and drive away, forgetting about the lives that were changed today and thinking of how much time I had left before I was late to work. Sounds of sirens fill my ears as I hear my parents say, “Be safe.” Frozen in a single second I think about what they meant by that. What it would be like if they got call and found out I was never coming home. I was gone or I, like the boy in the commercial, had made a mistake. What if I was that girl talking to the cop with tears trailing down her face or the body on the gurney with no tears, no evidence of breathing or moving? Suddenly my time to reflect is up as I go back to my old ways. Pitiful. Sad. Never going to happen. I leave the house, closing my parents warning off and the thought of something so ridiculous. Sounds of sirens take up every space of my room when they drive by my window. A voice of the city, besides the people. I’m used to it. I welcome the noise, like cuddling into a warm blanket. Shrugging off the real reason for it, thinking, accidents happen all the time. Even when I can hear them every night go back and forth outside of my bedroom. Even as I read a story on the internet about a terrible drunken car wreck. The same emotions occur. Pity. Sad. Not me. Never will be. A sound of a horn blasts in my ears. One hand wrapped around my phone and one hand on the steering wheel. Fast but not fast enough, one foot slams on the brake. The front of my car violently connects to another car, now with a dented door on the drivers side. My body feels the impact and reacts. My hands, from the base of my palm to the edge of my fingernails, shaking. Ears hold a high pitch ringing. Eyes are wide and unable to stop blinking for the hope that this is all a dream. But the blood on my bitten lips tells me it’s not. Oxygen is whooshed out of me as if I had just watched a scary movie scene where the killer pops out of nowhere. Heartbeat, taking no break from pounding in my veins. And finally, the sirens come. But this time they are for me, they are alive. The commercial. The accident I was just on the other side of. The warning from my parents. The sounds in my room and tragic stories I read on the internet. It all thrums with a realization, a respect, a newfound caution and fear that makes me think, this could happen to anyone but this is happening to me. Everything blurs as I pass out but yet I feel as though, now, I am awake. Pay attention to the world around you. Or else you won’t know, until you know.