Death lives in the streets: a true story

Ghouls and and goblins rule Halloween, but my nightmares reside on the road all-year-round

I’ve had the feeling that I am going to die young for some time now, but how? When will I meet this possibly realistic outcome that puts me 6 feet under? My imagination runs wild with the different outcomes I might meet. Shot to death? Highly unlikely, but one can never rule out any scenarios in today’s world. I’m guessing an accident of some sort.

After a long day at Saddleback College, I could hardly wait to get home to my dog and bed. My 2010 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle waited for me in the parking lot as I exited my final class. Being on the newspaper is no joke, considering how much it takes over your life, like a prisoner some days, but I love it. I threw my leg over the black leather seat and fired up the engine, letting the bike roar as I twist the throttle.

The thing about riding is a motorcycle is that it is dangerous, probably more dangerous than non-riders could imagine.

“Don’t get killed,” my family says. Yeah, no shit. I’d like to live another 40 years if that is possible for me.

I had strategically dressed for the occasion: reinforced kevlar jeans, a padded jacket and combat boots to protect my body if any incidents occurred. My dad and I always laugh when we see motorcyclists under dressed, which is sick in its own sense. There is a reason why the street is nicknamed “the meat grinder.”

I pulled out of the college and rode off into the distance, leaving behind any stress that burdened me. When you feel the wind rushing past you, freedom flows through your veins, igniting the adrenaline. I just wanted to be home.

Short cut? The lineup of cars turning right onto Marguerite Pkwy was far to long to wait, so I think yes. As I roll through the Shell gas station, eyes make their way onto me as my exhaust screams out, “Hey! I’m here so don’t hit me!” From the driveway, I look left for oncoming cars. The coast is clear. I get on the throttle, hitting 40 mph in just a few seconds to set the pace for myself as I approach the downhill bridge. Nothing in the world could take away my happiness at that moment. Except the car cutting me off.

Oh shit.

Before I knew it, I was sliding across the street on my stomach, screaming out to God to save me from this terrible act. Memories flashed through my head like lightning bolts. My mom hugging me, my sisters saying goodbye when I moved from central California to Orange County, my dad telling me that morning to be safe, all of the good times about to go to waste because this Camry couldn’t wait to send that text.

I slid on my stomach as my motorcycle made its way down the street, sparking and bouncing violently. My screams amplified inside my helmet as I looked up to see another car coming my way. My body hit the light deflectors in the road like miniature speed bumps, striking me in the genitals. I instinctively swallowed, unfortunately also taking in the chewing tobacco in my mouth, instantly causing extreme nausea. Miraculously, I rolled out of the way into the median before I could be turned into a human pancake and stumbled to the side of the road in shock.

What the actual fuck just happened?

I looked down at what was left of my clothing, worrying more so about the motorcycle’s condition than my own. My jacket, or what was may jacket, had both its sleeves dangling by what was left of the stitching. I had only acquired minor injuries, quarter-sized burns on my elbows and knees from the asphalt.

Paramedics arrived on the scene, checking me for a possible concussion but I knew I was okay. I was more so scared to call my dad to tell him I wrecked. Bonne was the first bike that he had owned, passing it down to me when he purchased his Harley.

“Hey dad, I need your help.”

Without any hesitation, my dad left his dinner party and brought our truck to take the bike home. Bonne was badly scraped up, almost like she had been to hell and back. Hell, we both did. I was able to push the bike into a nearby apartment complex to avoid being hit on the side of the road. If I had a cigarette, I would have definitely smoked it.

I see the familiar red Dodge pickup truck pull into the parking lot, help had arrived. I thought a lecture would follow the slam of the driver side door, but my dad hugged me. It was unlike any hug I had ever received, the kind you give a returning soldier after deployment.

“I’m glad you’re alive,” my dad said.

Shit, me too. I had looked death in the eyes: they were bright red with flashing amber. He put his blinker on but didn’t bother to look where he was driving. I sat in the passenger seat of my truck, thinking about the consequences that would follow the accident. There was no more weekend rides, no more late night cruises, but the important thing is that I had my life. I was still breathing, my family still loved me and I was going to get my bike back one day.

Life is horrifying, one wrong move and everything you ever worked towards goes to waste. I still ride Bonne to this day, scratched up and all. I’ve been in two accidents, have had numerous close calls and watched my dad almost get killed by a minivan, but I still love it.

I’m not scared of dying anymore. The unknown eternity of death doesn’t make me nervous, darkness doesn’t reign over my nerves. I’m afraid of leaving earth without saying goodbye to my family.

Don’t text and drive, you might just meet death your, or lose a mirror. Your choice.

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