Every once and awhile I’ll look back on my life and I’ll laugh. Particularly at the times I spent with my best friend Nate and all the mischief we caused. I look back now and I think what the HELL were we doing? How did we not die? Have you ever sat down and had a conversation with a male teen between the ages of 14-17? I should’ve been locked away for that period of my life, I swear I was temporarily insane. I had NO concept of “consequences” or “repercussions”. I did whatever, whenever. Unfortunately this little package of immaturity also came with other misleading thoughts such as a sense of invincibility, a total disregard for any authority, and taking pretty much EVERYTHING in my life for granted. What’s also unfortunate, is that I had to learn all of these life lessons the hard way, and in one horrible night when I was just sixteen and a half years old.
As I said, Nate and I are best friends, a little out of touch now, but best friends nonetheless. I guess it was the fact that we were both rebelling against the environment we were slowly growing up in that it made us so much alike. In a town where white-pride isn’t just common, more like a way of life, we were just a couple of 12 year old kids looking for an escape. What’s strange about growing up in a small town is that it encourages a sense of self-value, independence, and creativity which can be lost in large towns or cities. I mean, if you’re not doing something creative in our town, what the hell else would you be doing? So, Nate and I developed a VERY similar sense of humor. A dry sense of humor that I assume no one else really appreciated because we didn’t have all that many other friends.
We entered middle school with hopes of new experiences and meeting new interesting people. This was when I met Jeff, my other life-long-hetero friend. Jeff and I played hockey together when we were eight. He quit, and I hadn’t seen him since. Once I introduced him to Nate, we all became very close friends.
Finally the day came that every 16 year old dreams about. Jeff and I got our licenses. We were both a little older than most people in our graduating class, so we were a couple of the lucky kids. And on top of that, we both had very nice cars. Mine a blue, ’96, Pontiac Grande Am, and his a blue, ’94, Chevy Silverado pick up. Life was good.
This is the part of my life I replay in my head most frequently. It was a cool summer night. I was hanging out with Nate, bored as usual, when Jeff stopped by with some interesting news. “An abandoned stretch of 95!” He said with excitement. “I found where it is this morning.” Without second thoughts Nate and I hopped into my car and followed Jeff to what he had promised to be a “great time”.
We drove through a well hidden, off road trail and finally arrived. It was everything we had hoped for. Two lanes of perfectly straight asphalt that stretched about a mile to a mile and a half. So what else are three immature guys to do? Race. Nate and I buckled our safety belts (a life saving maneuver) as Jeff pulled up next to us. With his fingers he slowly signaled 1-2-3. I stomped on the gas. I heard my four exhaust pipes roar, the engine growling, almost beast-like, then the tires screeched in compliance as our car jumped forward and took off, leaving a cloud of smoke behind while Nate approvingly yelled, hooting and hollering with every loud sound the car was emitting.
In about three seconds I had caught up with Jeff, in about three more seconds he was two dots in my rear view mirror. I remember seeing complete blackness and then branches from what I came to find out was a large dead tree. I cut the wheel hard, not knowing where we were about to go next. I hit the brakes, but got no response.