On the sunny morning of June 28th 2012, my life changed forever. Or should I say the way I viewed it, in its own complicated, strange, yet beautiful way. After months of planning my friends Chasen, Aaron, Kayla and I left our hometown of Carlsbad, New Mexico to head to a concert in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We had eaten breakfast and my gas tank was full, so we just took off. We played our music super loud and laughed about little things that had happened in the previous week.
When we were about forty five minutes away I realized that I had forgotten the charger to the GPS, and the battery was close to dead. “Great”, I complained, “this is sure to be a hell of a trip guys, we’re going to be so lost… can anyone read a map?” “Nope”, Chasen, Kayla, and Aaron all replied in unison. I continued to drive as we came up behind a long chain of school buses, there had to be at least five or six of them all going at least thirty miles below the speed limit.
“Do you think I can pass these stupid buses?” I asked nervously and impatiently. “Yeah, you should be fine”, Kayla said. So I started to pull into the opposite lane and began to accelerate from forty five to sixty, then almost at seventy miles per hour and BOOM. I heard a loud popping noise and smelled intense burning. “What the hell was that?!” I yelled. “Pull over, now!” exclaimed Kayla. So I did, and we popped the hood. The temperature gauge was going insanely high, so I and Kayla both assumed that I needed anti-freeze. We had to flag someone down. The boys tried to do it, but it didn’t work for them. It wasn’t until Kayla, in her fishnet stockings and risqué high heels, stood in the middle of the road and was able to flag down a guy in a work truck. As the man pulled over to the side of the road we were on. “What’s the problem?” he asked. “I think we’re out of anti-freeze”, Kayla replied. “Okay, let me take a look, I’ve got some water in the back of the truck”, replied the truck driver.
He quickly grabbed the jug of water and looked under the hood of the car. “Anti-freeze isn’t your problem”, he gave us a quick look and we all looked at each other. The man proceeded to pull what looked like a really burnt piece of rubber off of my engine. “This is your problem, it’s the serpentine belt. It needs to be replaced.” I thought to myself, how could the guys that checked my car miss that? “Okay, where is the nearest mechanic?” I asked. “Dell City, so about 13 miles, I could tow you there if you want”, he replied. I figured I would ask my dad to see if he thought that was a good idea, he did so we agreed. Kayla drove since she had experience driving on a tow.
The man hooked my car up and warned us not to brake or else we would hit him. When he finally took off, he started going down the road. At first when he went fifty five we thought he was going a little bit fast, but when he accelerated to seventy, then we were terrified. Sure enough the tiny little chain holding my car to his truck broke off and we started drifting in the opposite lane. I was so scared that I began to repeat Psalm 91 the bible verse my nanny had taught me for protection when I was a little girl. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” I repeated over and over again. As we were drifting into the other lane my steering wheel locked up, meaning that we were going to hit whatever we were headed towards.
We passed several electric poles, billboards, and power generators, but then we saw straight ahead of us a big mesquite tree. Suddenly my life flashed before my eyes. Images danced in my head of the people that I love the most. My chest tightened up and I closed my eyes. In that moment I knew that no matter what was going to happen to me that I had lived a life full of love and I was ready to welcome death. “Guys, we’re going to hit this tree, but I need you all to remain calm”, said Kayla quietly. And so it was, she pulled the emergency break and loudly I watched as the windshield of my little silver Saturn started to shatter. All I could hear was the left side of my car violently being torn apart. The rosary my friend Aaron had in his hand broke and the beads began to fall all over the seat and roll down to the dash mats.
We looked around at each other in disbelief. We had survived our brush with death. We got out to assess the damage. My poor little Saturn’s door and mirror were broken into pieces. I already knew the car was pretty much totaled. The guy that had been towing us saw the condition of my car and simply drove away. Leaving us in the middle of nowhere in the beaming 115 degree sun. We all began to call everyone we knew, and I lost it. I had bought my little Saturn myself, and to see it in that condition brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t believe this had happened.
Kayla had to talk to my grandpa on the phone because I was an emotional wreck. We called 911, but we didn’t get any help for about an hour. We had no water, no food, and we were stuck in the scorching sun. Eventually people stopped on the side of the road and gave us water and called the sheriff. All the emergency vehicles and police officers wouldn’t be able to help us because of an oil tanker explosion just a mile ahead of us. We had to wait another thirty minutes for a sheriff to arrive only to tell us that there wasn’t anything that could be done because we didn’t know the name or license plate of the guy that towed us. My grandpa called a towing service in Carlsbad that was going to cost $500 to tow the car back, and that didn’t include us with it.
Luckily my mom had some distant friends in Dell City that offered to save us from the scorching heat. Jane was our guardian angel that day. After we had been in the sun for about three hours and had accumulated horrible sunburns, Jane picked us up with her grandson Marquise and took us into her home. She poured us each a glass of sweet tea, and we enjoyed our time together being thankful for our lives.
We eventually ended up back in Carlsbad. Our families were just happy that we were safe. We decided that we didn’t go through all of this for anything, and decided we still wanted to go to the concert. We were lucky that we left a day early. At about five o’clock we took off in Kayla’s car towards Las Cruces. As we passed the crash site, I couldn’t help but to say a little thank you prayer to God for sparing our lives that day.
It’s funny the way things work out. How everything seems to happen for a reason. We now look back and see the accident as a blessing almost. It’s a scary thought that if it wasn’t for the accident and we would’ve kept driving just a mile or two more, we could have lost our lives along with other people in an oil truck explosion. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways. I know that it was him watching out for our lives that day. Ever since that day my views on life have changed drastically. I believe in making every second count. I believe in stopping to smell the roses. I believe in spending as much time with the people you love. I believe in always saying I love you before leaving them, because you never know which moment could be your last. But the most important thing I learned that no matter what you do, always live the life you love.