Whenever my kids call me from college – something is up.
“Mom?” It was Sam. “I just totaled the car.”
My heart sank.
“Are you alright?”
“Yea, it just happened.” He sounded rattled. “Mom, there’s a lot of blood.”
I went into Mom mode. He was in Colorado, and I was in California. Through his
cell phone speaker, I could hear all the commotion that happens around an
“Dude, your car flipped four times.”
“Mom, all the windows are blown out. It just kept rolling, and then it stopped, and I
got out. There was stuffed flying. I banged my head on something. I’ll send you
“Don’t send me pictures.” I shuttered.
A man’s voice interrupted, “You okay? I was on my way home.” His voice
was soothing, “I’m a firefighter. Careful, you’re covered in glass.”
I heard sirens in the distance, then an EMT asked Sam the usual questions, his
name and birthdate.
“Do I need to get on a plane?” I shouted out.
There was a moment of silence.
“I don’t think so, ma’am.”
Suddenly my doorbell rang. It was my dear friend Michelle holding a bottle of wine.
“I hear you need this. You texted Lindsay, who texted Emma, who told me.”
No surprise, our daughter’s express chain works best.
“Mom, the cop is giving me a speeding ticket.”
“Were you?” If he was going to be okay, I was going kill him. “How can the cop tell from my skid marks?”
“They can tell.”
“Good news, my bike is okay.”
“Was it on the bike rack?”
“Thank God. That mountain bike costs more than the car.”
“They want me to go to the hospital. Can I ride with my friends? The ambulance is
“Sam, get in the ambulance.” My voice cracked.
“Mom, don’t cry. I’m okay. I can tell you’re going to cry.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Now is exactly the time moms cry. It would be weird if I didn’t
We all got inside the ambulance. By that, I mean Sam physically, and me resting in the
palm of his hand. I felt like Senor Wences’ Pedro, the talking head in the box who would answer, “s’alright? S’alright.”
The conversation inside the ambulance was about the bike trails.
“Really? They’re rushing my baby to the hospital and talking about trails?” I joked
The ER nurse greeted us. “Hello, Samuel. Are you allergic to any medications?”
“Have you had a CT scan before?”
“Yes,” Sam answered.
“Are you sure, Mom?”
“You’ve had many x-rays but not that.”
Michelle and I drank more wine while I held my cell phone in the palm of my
“How much charge do you have on that phone?” I asked Sam.
“A lot. I’ll call you back.”
It was the doctor this time. “He’s fortunate. The CT scan is clear, just a head gash. We’ll put a couple of staples in there and send him on his way.”
And that was that.
On Monday, Sam went to Ace’s Junk Yard.
“Hello ma’am, you have two options here. Pay for the tow here and storage, which is $950, and you keep your car. Or you can pay for the tow only, which is $300, and sign the pink slip over to me.”
“Really? Can we salvage the four brand-new tires?” I protested.
“Nope. It’s not drivable.”
“Pink slip it is.”
There was a lot of good memories with that twenty-year-old car for it to come to such
a violent end. Cars take on human personas. We name them. In the end, Sydney wrapped its doors around Sam and protected him at the cost of its own life.
Sam would have to deal with one other person, his sister. “SAM! You crashed our car?” Lindsay snarled.
Sam posted a photo with the caption, “RIP Sydney.”
True. I’m grateful. I can buy another car.
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