誰也不知道自己什麽時候長大。有人打算畢業以後變得成熟些，也有人一輩子長不大，不願意放棄童真。 還有人突然被扔進成年人的行列， 來不及回顧青春年少的時光。 我就是在一次開車回家的路上突然成熟的。
我出生成長在Fairbanks 一個中產的白人家庭。 小時候除了在體育比賽或者學習上遇到點挫折，沒有什麽其他值得驚奇的經曆。 從來沒有為錢或者吃穿發過愁，也沒有經曆過被人歧視。 總之，沒有什麽坎坷，輕輕鬆鬆地進入大學。 有時候 聽娛樂界名人和商界巨富被采訪，聽他們講述卑微的出身， 以及一路走來克服的重重困難， 直至功成名就， 我會有種嫉妒感。莫名其妙地， 我甚至會怨父母為什麽給我這麽順利的生活環境，沒有機會去經曆別人經曆的那些困難。諷刺的是，帶著這份無知， 我很快被生活狠狠地教訓了一下。
那晚我約會回來，比預期的晚了。 回家的路上，夜深人靜。 邊開車邊琢磨到家後給父母編個什麽借口為晚歸開脫，當然我也知道他們是不會信的。 突然， 我的思緒被路中央的一個大土堆驚斷。 我急速刹車，定睛一看，那不是一堆土， 而是一個駝鹿（moose）的屍體。 血水流滿了路麵，四處散落著車的碎片。 環顧四周，我發現兩道近300尺的漆黑的車輪摩擦路麵的痕跡，橫穿路麵 延伸到旁邊的樹林。 我關了車上的音樂，聽到刺耳的車喇叭聲。 喇叭聲撕破了夜幕，讓我的臉都因痛而抽搐。 我趕緊開到撞車的地方， 發現一輛銀色的奧迪， 卡在一棵大樹上。 車裏有兩個人，紋絲不動。我把車停好，呼喚他們， 盼著有人回應。 幾分鍾沉寂後， 我撥了911. 接線員在電話上指導我不要碰那輛車， 因為它可能會著火，也因為它可能對車上人的刺傷有固定作用。 她繼續在電話上跟我說話，我忽然聽到車裏發出的聲音。我走近些，大喊了幾聲， 聽到一聲痛苦的呻吟。 我安慰那個女人一切都好， 雖然她的丈夫一動不動地在流血。 這是我經曆過的最最慘痛的情況，我費盡洪荒之力保持鎮靜並盡力施救。
我跟車上的女人聊著，得知她的名字叫迪迪。 911的接線員告訴我要不停地跟迪迪說話， 否則她很可能會失去知覺。 最難的是告訴她一切都好。 我知道自己在撒謊。 她的丈夫已經死了。 她也受了重傷。 一點都不好。 她告訴我她很冷。 我馬上衝回自己的車上，把能找到的衣服都拿來蓋在她身上。 保暖作用可能是杯水車薪，但是至少讓我們兩個都覺得為了情況好轉做了點事。 終於，救護車到了，迪迪被送往醫院， 我又跟 隨車來的警察敘述了一遍經過。 我能聽到迪迪的尖叫聲，不知道是因為疼痛還是因為她知道了自己的丈夫已經去世。 我給警察交代完經過後，開車回家。
之後的一年， 每次我經過事故地點都能看到路上的刹車印和血跡。過了好久我才在腦子裏慢慢消化了那晚發生的事， 讓我意識到生命多麽寶貴，又是多麽脆弱，瞬間就可能失去。 那件事故之後，我對生命有了新的認識，盡量不虛度光陰。 對於那些失去親人的人， 我也更增加了一份同情心。 總之，那件事故讓我成熟了，讓我真的認識了生活。
現在我再開過那段路的時候，不見了刹車印和血跡，取而代之的是一束鮮花。對我來說，那束鮮花代表生活的美好。 盡管最終避不開可惡的死亡， 但是堅決不許它抹黑我們對生活的美好回憶。
No one ever knows when they’re going to grow up. Some plan on becoming more mature when they graduate school, others spend their whole life as a kid never wanting to leave the innocence of childhood. Then there’s some who are thrust into adulthood without a second glance at their adolescence. For me, I took major leaps in my maturity during a simple drive home.
I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska in a white middle class family; the only adversity I ever faced was either in sports or school, but never anything incredible that would make jaws drop. I’d never struggled with money, food, or any type of discrimination, all in all I had been able to skip along into college with essentially no adversity. I’d listen to interviews of celebrities and business tycoons talking about their humble beginnings and all the impossible challenges they had to face to achieve their success, and I’d actually get jealous. In a strange way, I found myself resenting my parents for giving me such a great life without all of struggles so many others have gone through. The irony in my arrogance is not lost on me, and I soon found the intensity of life being thrust onto me.
I was driving home, and it was the dead of night. I had just finished going on a date and it went a little longer than I had anticipated. I was brainstorming ideas on the drive to sell my parents on why I was so late, but as usual I knew they weren’t going to buy it. All of sudden, my train of thought was interrupted by giant pile of dirt in the middle of the road. I slammed my brakes to examine what exactly I was seeing and soon realized there was no pile of dirt and this was a moose carcass. The road was covered in blood and there were pieces of a car strewn all across the highway. I looked and saw two jet black tire streaks stretching nearly 300 feet across the road and into the woods. I turned down my music and I could hear the loud blaring of the car horn. It cut through the night and made me wince to hear. I sped over to the crash to find a silver Audi wedged into a tree with two passengers still as rock. I parked my car and ran over to help, calling to them hoping to God I’d hear someone call back. It was silent for minutes and I called 911, the operator on the phone instructed me not to touch the vehicle as it could be flammable or be holding together puncture wounds of the passengers. She continued to talk to me, and I heard a voice from the car. I got closer and began yelling back to hear only to hear an agonizing moan. I tried to assure the woman it was okay, even as her husband laid motionless bleeding. It was the most stressful situation I’ve ever found myself in, and it took everything in my being to remain calm as well as do everything in my power to fix the situation.
As I talked to the woman I learned her name was DeeDee, and I was told by the 911 operator I had to keep talking to DeeDee or there was a higher probability she’d lose consciousness. The hardest part was telling her everything was okay. I knew I was lying to her and myself. Her husband was dead and she was severely injured, nothing was okay. What she did tell me was that she was cold, so I rushed to my car and grabbed every jacket I could possibly find and put across her. It was a pretty pathetic attempt to keep her warm, but it convinced both of us something was being done to help.Eventually, the ambulance and responders arrived and I had to talk to the troopers about what had happened as DeeDee was rushed to the hospital. I could hear her scream as she was taken out of the vehicle, and to this day I’m not sure if it was from the pain or that she realized her husband was gone. I gave my statement, to the troopers, and drove home.
For the next year, every time I drove into town I would have to pass the accident site and see the skid marks, and blood stain on the road. It took me a while to really process what had happened, but it brought me to a realization of how special life is and how quickly it can be taken away from you. Since the accident, I’ve grown to try and get as much as I can out of life, and have a new appreciation for it. I’m more sympathetic towards those that lose loved ones or go through traumatic experiences. Overall, the accident really made me mature and put the concept of life into perspective for me. I am eternally grateful for the life I have, and need to make the most of it. Now when I drive by the place of the accident the skid and blood marks are gone, and instead there is a bouquet of flowers laying on the roadside. To me, those flowers represent the beauty in life and even though death is such an ugly truth, it shouldn’t disparage the happy memoires of one’s life.
Picture from the internet: https://www.foxnews.com/great-outdoors/alaska-moose-hunt-antlers-illegal-jail