You Loved Brad

I haven’t been able to write about my trip to Israel recently because I was a victim in a high speed car accident on the freeway. I was driving home from UC Irvine (hopefully my future home) when I came to a hard stop behind a car. I breathed a sigh of relief that was followed by a loud crash and force behind me. A 7/11 truck hit me at nearly full speed in the fast lane of the freeway, totaling my 2002 Acura RL/Honda Legend. The collision has pulled me into many states of panic, depression, anxiety, pain, nostalgia, and euphoria. So I’d like to dedicate this to my old friend, the Blacura.

Dear Blacura/Brad,

I owned you for (almost) 2 years. I named you Brad. I loved you, Brad. But then you were totaled. We’d been through everything together- 1 boyfriend, 2 jobs. It’s like nothing can replace you.

When my family joked that I reminded them of that woman in the Liberty Mutual commercial, I named you Brad as a joke. I laughed about us whenever the commercial came on, but never did I expect you to follow the same fate. Later, my coworker, Dave, thought of the coolest name for you- the Blacura, so I switched to that instead.

I remember when I first got you, I was so scared. You were a gift from my Uncle Roger, and the last thing I wanted to do was crash you. December 31, 2015, we picked you up from his house. Uncle Roger took amazing care of you. You were waxed regularly, used synthetic oil, and kept inside a garage. I felt bad taking you, knowing I couldn’t afford the same treatment or have the place to shelter you. For months, you sat outside my house collecting dust and bathing in the sun because I did not have my license, and I was freaked out from the last time my dad took me driving in February 2016. Twice, your battery died because I didn’t start you up regularly. I cried so many times because I had a nice car that I couldn’t take care of and was too scared to drive.

September 1, 2016, I started my first driving lesson. It was terrible, and I was so scared to drive outside of a neighborhood, but I did it. September 13 and 14 were the next lessons, and after the last, I decided to try driving with my parents again. And that’s when I finally drove you again. I hated driving at first. Every time I got behind the wheel, I was scared and uncertain of my surroundings. What if someone hit me? What if something jumped out and I ran over it? What if I ran a red light? What if I couldn’t see something?

But eventually, I fell in love with driving. My mom lost my permit around winter break, but I couldn’t wait to find it and drive again. And by the time I took you in to my driving test on May 5, 2017, you were an extension of my body. I was so happy with how well I did on my test (and my parking job), only 3 errors. That night, I came home and took Kev for donuts to celebrate the freedom of my license. It took a while to adjust to this newfound freedom. For once, I did not need my parents to go somewhere.

I remember the following Monday, May 8, driving you to school for the first time. I was so proud of myself. And I purchased my first permit, which is still inside the car at this moment. I loved driving my friends around campus and to their homes, just like they did with me. They liked you. You were a luxury car- Bose speakers, leather seats, fast AC, and smooth driving.

I drove you to Uncle Roger’s house. I drove you to work at school on Saturday mornings. I drove you to Dad’s work for projects. I drove you to the beach during spring break (with mom because I had a permit).

Before I left for Israel, I looked forward to going to the gym because I exercised my driving freedom (and my body). Hell, I couldn’t wait to return to the gym after Israel. When I came home from Israel, I was excited to drive you again, because you meant freedom to me. The Friday I returned, I took Kev to 626 Night Market, just us, feeling like the big sister I am.

I would go to work with you so I could leave earlier than Dad.

And I felt so confident driving that I decided to drive all the way to UC Irvine to volunteer for a day at Inspire 2017.

But that night, I came home and you didn’t.

And now I am back where I started last year- afraid to drive.

Maybe you’d still be here if I had left earlier and not stalled with my friends. If I drove the 405 instead of the 5. Then I would have escaped that crash and both of us would come home in one piece.

Maybe you’d still be here if I took the offer from my friends to stay in the dorms overnight and leave early in the morning. Everything in my mind told me to stay. I wanted to. I was at home already. Traffic in the daylight felt safer than driving in the dark. I would have hung out with my friends, attended my doctor appointment the next day instead of going to the ER that night, and you would still be in the driveway, ready for the next adventure.

Maybe you’d still be here if I listened to my parents’ warnings that I was a new driver and shouldn’t drive so far by myself. I would not have enjoyed being at my future home, but at least I could still enjoy you.

But like my dad said, there was nothing I could have done in the situation of the accident. I could have been driving for 12 years and not avoid it. There’s a bright side to this, at least I don’t need to replace your tires, fill up your tank, or repair your cruise control.

Everyone tells me that I am so lucky to have survived the collision. You were sandwiched between two cars, a large truck and an SUV. You got the worst out of the 3. And somehow, the passenger section was not as crumpled, and there was enough space in the driver’s seat that I could get out. Even the backseat door was squeeze shut, and I couldn’t open it.

You may be an inanimate object without feelings, and I am projecting my emotions and faith onto you to cope with this tragic event, but thank you for loving me back. There were so many other things that could have gone wrong, but because of you, my bones are not broken and my body is not crushed. There was just enough room for me to get out and avoid panicking alone in a car with broken glass everywhere and dirty steam filling my lungs. I may have some potential brain damage, depression, body aches, and bruises, but at least I have my life.

Losing you is like losing a limb; you held my confidence, my cockiness, and my ability to drive. If I had to do the crash all over again, I would break a leg if that meant I could drive you again. But you made the decision for me.

So thank you, my Blacura, for giving up your life so I can still have mine.

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