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Almost three months earlier, I shaved my head. It was finally growing back rather nicely, and I seemed to actually not look so G.I. Jane. And then..... tragedy struck.

I was riding home with my older brother from a party. Neither of us had been drinking. We were traveling west on I-80. All of a sudden, before either of us could react, a blue pick-up truck came swerving across the median, striking our truck. In one swift blow, our truck flipped and rolled numerous times, not stopping until it came to rest on a viaduct. That crunch of steel screeched and screamed in my ears for days to come.

My head went through the windshield, sending glass everywhere. The front of the truck got crushed in, pinning my legs. I felt a strange stinging in my head and legs, and soon enough, the warmth of blood was flowing down my face. I immediately looked at my brother in the driver's seat. His head was down, and his body was slumped over the steering wheel. The tragedy of the situation was all too familiar, and I thought I might lose yet another sibling.

At that moment, my attention wasn't focused on me, but on my brother who was only 14 months older. I remember calling his name, and reaching for him with a bloody hand. I touched his face, only I don't remember feeling him. He never looked up; he never responded. I began screaming his name, and as I did, the paramedics arrived. Soon enough, my brother was taken from me, as he wasn't trapped in the car. The minutes, hours, and days after are nothing but a blackout.

I woke up three days later with stitches everywhere. My mom was at my side, waiting to be the bearer of the good news and not-so-good news. The good news was that my brother was alright. He sustained nothing more than a broken wrist, and a concussion. As for the bad news. All the months that I'd waited for my hair to grow back, it was all thrown away in an instant. The cuts from the glass were too deep and too much to not shave my head. I was left bald again. In addition, I would be bound to a wheelchair for the next two months, while my badly broken ankles healed. I had numerous cuts on my face, along with a black eye. I was a sight for sore eyes.

I was released from the hospital three days later, only to be completely incapable of taking care of myself. I went through every emotion, from feeling sorry for myself to frustration. Everything changed when I finally saw pictures of my brother’s truck. There was nothing left of the passenger side. It was nothing but crushed steel. Only then did I fully realize how lucky I was to even be alive.

Friends and family came to the house to visit, but none of them struck me as hard as my guy best friend did. He came bearing a wheelchair of his own. Since I had to learn to maneuver in a wheelchair, he was going to “master the art” as well. In the week to come, he would carry me outside to the driveway, and the two of us would practice wheeling around in these wheelchairs as if it were a game. In our hearts we knew if wasn’t a game. Unfortunately, it was all too real. But we tried as hard as we could to keep on our happy faces while we practiced.

I couldn’t return to school right away, due to my immobility. I often expressed to him the concerns and fears I had about returning to school.

On the day I was scheduled to return, he picked me up in the morning and drove me to school. As he wheeled me in, tears rolled down my face. I couldn’t help it. Of course, all of my friends were waiting for me inside. Another surprise was waiting as well. It seems my best friend had checked with the school principal and okayed the idea of him using a wheelchair for the first day of my return. He figured that since we had the same schedules, it would make it easier on me. And it did. I will always remember it. Another thing I will always remember is the race we had in the hallway. I lost by a landslide, but I loved it. The yearbook loved it too.... so much that they put a picture of it in our Senior section.

It is a miracle that I healed perfectly from the accident. I have scars on both ankles from the surgery as well as lines on my head. But in the end, I suppose it is a small price to pay to keep my life. Many people, such as my sister, don’t get the luxury of keeping their life.

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