The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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This is the story of my dad and a serious car crash he got in when he was 18. He said it was the most scared he was in his life and he remembered most of the details pretty vividly still. He still has visible scars, one above his right eyebrow and the other on his upper torso. 
He is fine driving now but was definitely scared to drive for a few months after the event.

It was 1987 and Louis Rodriguez Jr., my dad, was off to have the family car worked on on this quiet Autumn night.

His dad barked sternly, “now don’t drive there too fast, it’s dark out!”

“I know”, Lou would respond unenthusiastically, this was one point of contention between the two as he felt he drove just fine.

Lou would head outside and into the car without paying much attention to the weather that day, but he would later hope he did. There was no rain falling, but there was a hidden slickness to the roads as it if had already rained, a smell of petrichor radiating from the ground.

            Lou would be on his way in the 1976 Dodge Colt, a metallic and boxy car, driving like normal, a pace he felt fine with, but was probably faster then he should have been going. It was only a few minutes into the drive, there was an ‘s’-curve ahead that he would take a little too fast and that's when he started to skid. His heart immediately dropped as he felt himself lose control of the car. Next thing he knows his car has just caromed off the curve and was headed for the brick wall on the other side of the road as he saw his whole eighteen-year-old life flash before his eyes.

Next thing Lou would remember was being in the backseat of the car in the last recognizable seat, bloody and disorientated, and then being pulled out of the car by a group of teenagers who had seen the whole thing go down from behind him.

            They would quickly load him up in their pick-up truck and bring him to the hospital to get stitches and bandaged up. His parents were shocked when they received the call from the hospital to get down there and headed over right away. They were lucky to learn that he would make it out alive with some scars around his right eyebrow and upper torso that would stay with him forever.

            After a few months, Lou felt it was finally time to try and drive again. Even though he and his parents were nervous, he pressed on. It was an inevitability, however as Lou was going to be going off to college and needing to work again soon.

           On this first drive, Lou was more timid than usual, too timid in fact, as he almost caused himself to get into another car crash at one point. Now, shaking and nervous to make another mistake, he pulled up to a red light and bring his attention to the song on the radio that was fading in, Roadhouse Blues by The Doors, and the specific lyrics that would calm him down and stay with him for the rest of his life, “Keep your eyes upon the road, your hands upon the wheel.”

The Car Crash

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Summer, 1987
Ridley, PA

This is the story of my dad and a serious car crash he got in when he was 18. He said it was the most scared he was in his life and he remembered most of the details pretty vividly still. He still has visible scars, one above his right eyebrow and the other on his upper torso.
He is fine driving now but was definitely scared to drive for a few months after the event.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Louie on April 26, 2018
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