On Saturday, around 4 pm, it started snowing. Not hard, not intense, just little flurries. It wasn’t sticking though, so my friends and I had no problem going out to dinner at 7. Driving in it certainly built up my confidence, so at 9 when Mr. Man called and asked if I felt up to a trip to a town about 30 minutes away to go visit a few friends of ours, I was all for it. We took a 4-wheel drive Jeep to be safe, and on our way there, we didn’t have a problem – the snow had stopped falling, it was about 35 degrees out, so it was just barely sticking. It looked like it would be gone by morning.
We stayed at our friend’s place until about 2 am. We were having fun, kind of forgot about the snow, didn’t notice the temperature was dropping. When we did notice, we considered sleeping there. But Mr. Man had to be at work, I needed to go back to school in the morning. We needed to be back in our beds that night. So, we drove.
It was a mistake.
Mr. Man was driving. Our friend B-Fray was riding shotgun – I was supposed to be (we have a weird norm that girlfriend of driver always sits shotgun), but I insisted he take it. I wanted to lay down in the back because I was exhausted and a little queasy.
I hate myself for insisting on that.
Almost as soon as I got in the back, I leaned my head against the driver’s seat. I didn’t want to look out the window, you know? I don’t normally get car sick, but with the way I was already feeling, I knew that seeing the contrast of the white snow and the dark road/sky flying by the window would make me more sick. I had my right arm wrapped around the chair, in Mr. Man’s jacket pocket. I didn’t have my own and my hands were freezing.
We had been driving ten minutes, maybe fifteen, when it happened.
Suddenly, we were fishtailing. It came out of nowhere. As stupid as this sounds, it didn’t feel like a big deal at first. We’d fishtailed in his Jeep before. My car doesn’t handle water well at all, so I’m pretty used to a little hydroplaning now and again and know how to recover from it.
Mr. Man and B-Fray shouted from the front seat. “Oh shit,” they were yelling over and over again, and I glanced up, looking out the window. I saw we were spinning, I saw snow, and suddenly, I saw the concrete median. It was much closer to the car than I was comfortable with. Mr. Man and B-Fray kept shouting. I could hear Mr. Man working to recover, trying to stop the Jeep. Instinctively, I wrapped my arms around the front seat and wedged my head between them.
For a moment, it felt like we’d recovered. I think there was actually a split second where I felt slightly relieved. But then, the back end of the car slammed into the median. By the time it hit, we’d done a full 180 degree spin, and when we bounced off, we spun another 180 degrees.
Mr. Man and B-Fray were yelling throughout that whole part. It wasn’t anything constructive, just a string of curse words; a chant almost. Weirdly enough, I wasn’t scared throughout any of that. There simply wasn’t time for fear.
I guess the car couldn’t handle all the spinning, because it started flipping. We rolled once, maybe twice, none of us are really sure. It felt like gravity had stopped acting on us. We were just falling, spinning, flipping, completely out of control, at mercy to the unforgiving pavement.
That’s when I finally got scared. I could hear every crunch of the car slamming into the road. I heard the all windows breaking and the body of the Jeep crushing, screeching, screaming against the asphalt. When we landed on B-Fray’s side, I heard the sunroof cave in and I heard his head hit the pavement. I heard Mr. Man’s body slam into the steering wheel and into his door. I heard more than I felt myself slam into the door, and my window break above me, showering me with glass.
Most of all though, I could hear that neither boy was making a sound. They were dead silent and being tossed around like rag dolls in the front. That scared me. I was so, so terrified that they were unconscious, or worse, dead.
Suddenly, we stopped moving. Somehow, miraculously, we were right side up.
Part 2 tomorrow.
(img cred. That isn't Mr. Man's Jeep, but looks a lot like it used to.)