Inherently Different

Nothing But A Heartbeat

I was about sixteen the first time I came face to face with my own mortality. Okay, well maybe it happened before that day, but I’ll be damned if I remember that experience half as well as I remember the day we crashed into another car while getting high.

My friends Allen, Jimmy, and Joe and I were hanging out one night on our block. It was a bit chilly, foggy in fact and we decided to sit in my friend Allen’s car and smoke a little cheeba. A few hours rolled by as hours often do when you’re high and I told my friends that I was gonna cut out and go home to do some homework. My buddy Allen, who had just gotten his license a few weeks prior told me that he’d drive me so I wouldn’t have to walk the block and a half to my house. He started up the car, popped the clutch and the car lurched foward and we all heard the unmistakable sounds of breaking glass and crunching metal.

Over the few hours we had spent in the car, the windows had fogged up considerably. We couldn’t see out and I doubt anyone could see in which was okay considering we were smoking some Maui Crippler, highly potent cheeba that I had brought back from my very first trip to the islands.

After we heard the crash, we all exchanged glances, wide eyed panic the special of the day. Simultaneously, we all opened our doors and climbed out to inspect the damage.

Only, the inspection was short lived as the first thing we noticed was the black and white paint job, the emergency lights and the large, heavy-set police man struggling with the airbag.

Ever watched a world-class sprinter hitting on all cylinders? That night, I could have smoked them carrying a midget on my back. I ran like I was running for the border. My friends Jimmy and Joe were not too far behind me, but my friend Allen couldn’t very well run since leaving his car would lead the police to him eventually. So he did what many would claim to do in such a situation but few would actually attempt. He drove out of there as fast as he could, tearing down the quiet subdivision street like a bat out of hell.

Amazingly enough, we were never caught. I would imagine the police officer had some explaining to do and my friends and I laughed many times over the possible reasons for why he was on our street, parked late at night, with a carload of miscreants smoking da kine reefer not more than twenty feet from him. I still cling to the theory that he was catching a nap when his airbag went off. If that is what happened, it would at least partially explain why he wasn’t able to get descriptions of us or the car.

Who knows, but by the time I ran home, my heart was beating incredibly hard. It must have beat in the danger zone for some time because I almost asked my father to take me to the hospital. Sitting alone in my room, a possible heart attack staging a drumline performance in my chest, I realized that one day, maybe not today, but one day, I would die.

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