“Wanna go for a ride?” He asks as I gawk at my favorite model car. A few of us were still hanging out by the fire after my graduation party when Alex rolled up in his new Mustang.
“Of course!” I say without hesitation. I hobble over to the passenger side and get in, passing my crutches to a friend. I adjust my position to get comfortable and strap in. Alex hops into the driver’s seat, a wide, proud smile spread across his face. We look at each other, both grinning from ear to ear as he puts it in reverse and backs out of the drive.
The sound of the engine is glorious. My heart is pounding with anticipation. We head out on the road, taking it easy until we get to a smooth straight stretch of asphalt. He lets loose. We are flying down the seldom used back road. We’re young and living in the moment.
We again look at each other, almost giddy at the feeling of freedom and open road. Nothing matters but us and the car. The sound of the engine. The sound of pistons firing and fuel being burned as if there’s an endless supply. The sound of trees whooshing by as we leave them behind. We turn around to do the same stretch again.
And again we are lost to this moment. During this ride I’m no longer broken. I’m no longer a broken youth whose bones were shattered. I’m not thinking about the consequences if Alex were to lose control of the car. I’m not thinking about the fear that could be coursing through my mother’s protective mind when she finds out where I am, when she can hear from our house how fast we’re going. The accident that took away my freedom is no longer only a month and a half ago, it’s years ago. It’s non-existent.
The car wreck that took my ability to finish out my senior year in the same fashion as the rest of my classmates is not a thought in my mind. The moment that caused me to have to attend my senior prom in a wheelchair, unable to dance the night away, never happened. In this moment I’m whole. In this moment nothing matters but the sound of that engine and the feeling of being pushed back into my seat. Nothing matters but the laughter and smiles shared between Alex and myself.
Nothing matters right now, but being young and free. I live in this moment. I take in everything that is amazing and good about it. I savor the feeling it brings. The pounding of my heart as I’m filled with an indescribable joy. This is where I am. This is where I feel free.
This happened almost 10 years ago. I haven’t thought about this memory in probably just as long. It came back to me so quickly and vividly on my way to work the other day that it almost shocked me. I couldn’t believe how easily that feeling of freedom and living in the moment came back. Why hadn’t I thought about this memory more? Why did it just now surface? If I could bottle the way I felt during that ride and savor it every once in awhile, I would. There’s nothing better than feeling complete freedom and being in the moment.