It’s gotta be the shoes

I didn’t tend to appreciate life everyday. You get busy, you take it for granted, and good health just becomes an expectation.

Every day, we are surrounded by threats to our lives. Something could go horribly wrong, something completely out of our control, and it would all be over in an instant.

Today, I thought it was just another take-it-for-granted day in my senior year of college. At the end of the day, I am appreciating my chance to reflect on it and hope to see tomorrow.

I was walking from my apartment, heading towards my first class of the day. The path, like heading on-campus for most Universities, is filled with its own dangers of busy streets, rushed drivers, oblivious pedestrians, and all the typical University-related traffic to keep things running smoothly.

On this particular morning, construction blocking a sidewalk in my usual route had me crossing State Street. State Street is a two-lane, one-way street with room for parking on both sides of the road. The result is that it is a fairly wide road.

I reached an intersection with State and waited for the wave of traffic to pass. After the last car, I began walking across the road at the crosswalk. Almost to the middle of the road, I heard an engine roaring towards me.

Mid-stride, I turned my head to look at the sound. Coming the wrong way up this one-way road, a black car was barreling down on me and swerving across multiple lanes. I froze unsure of whether running forward or diving back to the sidewalk would be the right choice.

Moments later, the car was going to introduce itself in a very forceful way. Its shiny chrome bumper and grill flashed in the morning sunlight as the world seemed to drop into slow motion. A shout came from the sidewalk but it was too late to warn me. I already knew that I had no escape.

I turned towards the car as I finished my step. Fight or flight began pumping adrenaline through my system. The car was inches away. I might have never been this close to a car before out of fear of scratching the paint. Now, I would be lucky to walk away with mere scratches.

The car swerved across lanes, independent of the painted lines or possibly even targeting me. I jumped. Straight up seemed like my only hope for escape. I jumped as high as I could and pulled my legs up under me. My backpack, loaded with textbooks bit into my shoulders and I could feel it trying to drag me down to my doom at the hands of that car. Miraculously, my feet cleared the front of the car, the hood ornament bent passing under my shoe. I blinked and felt my shoes impact the windshield. They slid across the smooth surface to the top of the windshield where they caught on the roof.

Time returned to its normal speed and I felt the sudden traction gripping the bottom of my shoe. I was spun around at least once, maybe twice, head over feet while remaining in my tucked, knee-hugging position. I saw the ground for a brief moment and managed to land on my feet and one hand, looking like both a cat and a scene from a superhero movie. My partially zipped bookbag had betrayed me as loose papers fluttered around me.

I stood up, dizzied as somebody from the side of the street ran out and helped me out of the middle of the road. A few blocks ahead, a loud crash was heard. A car driving across State had not been as lucky as I and was hit dead on to the passenger side. Suddenly sirens filled the air as police pursuing the car from parallel roads now converged on the stalled black vehicle that had nearly extinguished me. I sat on the curb trying to gain my bearings and feel my appendages to make sure they were all attached.

The cops arrested the driver, the black car was towed, an ambulance took the people of the other car away, and the police came and asked me for a statement. They had somehow heard I was nearly hit by the car.

That is why I was late to class, Professor. I believe my assignment was one of those that fell out of my backpack and did not get recovered. If I can get another copy of the take-home exam, I would like another chance to complete it and turn it in. This class is a requirement for my major and my education is a stepping stone to my career. With a new appreciation for life, I plan on making the most of it starting today.