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I’ve been walking a lot lately. When the new year came I had a notion that perhaps winter was going to end early, that maybe for one year it would end before I ever had the chance to really become tired of it. But, of course, that is not the case and last Thursday morning the snowfall began again as I was sitting in the brownish classroom which was mine when I was in grade 11, writing my calculus exam.

So now I’m walking more, in the snow, in a warm coat and layers of clothes, grateful that I remembered to buy new boots in December before the snow became an issue. I killed my car. That’s why I’m walking now — not necessarily by choice, but because I have to. Yeah, a week ago I was in an accident and I kind of crashed my car. The front was all bashed in, a fender or whatever it’s called, lying sadly in the middle of the road, greenish fluid dripping pathetically from a 16 year old motor section (I’m not very familiar with car-related terms).

So it wasn’t exactly my car, but I adopted it as my own. Took it over while my father was working far away overseas, my car and my mode of transportation, and by taking it I must assume responsibility in destroying it. It was so dumb, the situation, how it happened and when someone asked me, “Was it at least a spectacular crash?” I couldn’t even laugh and say yes. It was just one of those pathetic moments of miscalculation and underthinking and backfired chances.

The story: I was trying to turn left out of my school parking lot intending to go north. I had a friend beside me, a best friend’s brother in the backseat. There was a bus kind of obscuring my view but I took the chance and turned anyway. Of course, there was a car going south and I hit its passenger side straight-on. And it’s funny when those sort of things happen, how for a split second I wanted to start laughing, how after that split second I became kind of, um, upset. No one was hurt at all so at least that’s one thing I don’t have to burden myself with. I hit a girl named Catherine, the girl who sits next to me in my business class. If I had to hit someone, I’m glad it was her instead of some sort of mean stranger who would make me feel worse than I was already feeling. As I said, my father was hours and hours away in a different country and my mother was also pretty far, at work, unable to get down to help me. I was pretty much alone, except for some of my friends who stayed with me as long as they could. Then I clung to the man who towed my car. I think his name was Rich and he let me sit in his warm truck and use his phone as we waited for the police to arrive. When things like this happen you always feel the need to stick to someone, for someone to feel like how you’re feeling even though there’s no way that they possibly can.

We drove to the collision centre and I sat in the passenger seat listening to the thunk of dead car behind me, looking out the window and already worrying, panicking, dreading how I would tell my father about what had happened. The collision centre was all at once boring and tiring and exciting and scary. Exciting, of course, in the bad way. In the way of twisting nerves and shaky words and attempts at bravery. Policemen were policemen, neither sympathetic (although why would they be?) nor warm, but not overtly rude either. And then the drive home, in the stale cold tow-truck with the crackle of half-heard CB radio messages, halfhearted attempts at conversations, and my backpack sitting securely on my lap. The turn of the key in the door, and my mother, obviously, worried sick and concerned and I explained everything the best I could, still keeping on my shoes and jacket for the first 20 minutes. We had to make some phone calls to our mechanic, to our insurance, to the collision centre for further clarifications… An hour of questions and vague answers and dial tones and rings and strangers telling me what to do.

Strung out, I was, exhausted but unable to sit down and when I tried to call someone I knew and got a busy signal, I was so frustrated. I think that night was spent very restlessly, and I only sat down and concentrated when I had to write the dreaded email message to my father explaining exactly what happened and what went wrong.

So that was last Tuesday, and now it’s Monday and I feel a lot better. I still feel dumb when I think about what I did and what I could have done, but I know that you’re not supposed to dwell on those things unless you want to drive yourself insane. My father is..hmm… upset, understandably, and he explicitly told me not to drive our other car because then I would kill someone. Heh. (Just in case you ever have to get in a car with me, don’t worry – I wouldn’t) Now I’m walking around more, like to the driver registration office where I had to cancel the plates, to school (halfway at least), to wherever I have to go. But I can’t really complain because, yeah, I did it and I have to deal with the consequences…. sigh. Maybe this has happened to you? If it has then let me know, because, you know, misery loves company! Yes, comfort is drawn from mutual suffering. I am okay now, still kind of sad about what I’ve done, but there’s nothing I can do to change anything so… there. That’s what happened to me in the past 7 days. After the ugliness of all that I’m ready for something beautiful and new and good exciting, like spring or an adventure with a semi-long-lost girl or new friend or a song that I’ve been meaning to hear my whole life. A new car would be nice too.

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