“St. Louis taught me death could be your neighbor, stay away / Don’t take the family for granted better days away”
“Shadow Man” by Noname
“One Silver Car”
Fiction. Based on a True Moment in my Life.
by Noah Taylor
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
I told my dad about how I was going for a walk in the park to celebrate my latest piece of writing receiving almost eight hundred views. I could hear he was impressed through the phone. We concluded the conversation, and he reminded me to look both ways before crossing the street before telling me that he loved me. Out of any of his six children, he understands that I am most likely to be paying the least amount of attention when crossing the street. This is from a specific morning we shared, when I was in seventh grade. I had stepped out from a blind spot in between two parked cars in a neighborhood: immediately in front of a car with someone behind the wheel that was not paying any attention either. She was going so fast. I can’t really remember what I was thinking or how it all happened. I was out of my body watching myself from the sidewalk, as I darted out of the way of the moving car.
My dad had watched the whole thing open-mouthed from the driver’s seat of his own parked car not six feet away. The woman slammed on her breaks and my dad was at her passenger window in a second. “What were you doing going that fast in a school zone? What could you have possibly been thinking?” he raged. All six feet, 180lbs of him was waving his arms, his face was beet red, and the veins on his neck were visibly dark blue and strained. I looked up to remember that this all had happened in front of the large school yard that had most of the kids from my school playing on it. When I say all of them were frozen in place and starring as my dad lost his mind in the middle of the street, I really do mean it. The rest of what he said was pushed from my ears by my running feet. My response was to sprint away: through the yard where what felt like over one hundred children were frozen too, half watched me run and half watched my dad scream, and into the nearest school bathroom.
I was already the weird girl with too many siblings, but that only escalated when I was almost hit by a car in front of everyone at school. I was called back to the principal’s office so the woman could apologize to me, and my dad could take me out of class to help me calm down. I had waited until the first bell rang to run and meet them so that no one would be in the hallway to watch me return to the situation. The conversation was short: tremendously awkward and embarrassing for me, heartfelt and weepy for the lady that had to apologize to my lanky thirteen year old self, and justifying for my terrified father who removed me from the office with one last glare at the woman. He walked me to his car and opened the door in silence for me to get in. I took my place in the backseat and looked back at him with humiliation etched in my face. He rested both of his hands on my elbows and squeezed them to my sides while he looked at me with tears in his eyes. He was trying to form words, but only grumbles escaped his pursed lips as the tears fell down his face.
“God please be more careful next time. I really could have lost you back there,” was what he said before he hugged me tightly. He leaned back out of the door, closed it, and walked around to the driver’s seat when he realized that I was still too shaken up to speak. He turned the car on, and he told me that I was not going back to school today. He wanted to have a day with me while he worked from home. He let me watch lots of disney movies on VHS in my parent’s master bedroom, which we were only allowed to do on the weekends, while he worked from his desk in the same room.
We were both so scared, and I was glad that he had been there when it happened. It was a terrifying experience, but we shared it together. Ten years later, he still kindly reminds me to look both ways before crossing the street. He knows that I absolutely have looked every single time I have crossed the street since that day that we both hate remembering, but he reminds me the same. We would share many more terrifying experiences together, but that was one of the few situations where the antagonizing third party was not someone that we were related to. “I have your back, but do not do anything dumb” is what he is saying under his words. I am proud to have him in my corner.