It was such a bitter sweet feeling as I stood in my empty door room. I had completed my freshman year of college and it literally went by with a snap of a finger. I happened to be one of the last of my friends to leave campus on departure day and I honestly didn’t want to leave. I had so much fun with my new friends and I wanted to stay for an extra six months. My parents snapped me back to reality as they pulled up and I left my dorm building for the last time, filled with so many amazing memories. Freshman year was suchhhh a blast.
Instead of driving back home (South Florida) we drove from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. My sister Monica was graduating from Florida State University with an Accounting degree. At the last second, my brother Ross decided to join the festivities and flew in for the weekend from AZ. It was so much fun to have all five of us reunited and be able to celebrate a special time in my sister’s life.
The next morning, my brother flew back to Arizona while my parents started the trek back home. Monica and I stayed to pack up the remainder of her stuff and to chill in Tallahassee one more night. The next morning we LOADED her little Volvo up to the brim and hit the road bright and early.
About three hours into the drive, we were passing through Gainesville. We were cruising on I-75 with one thing on our minds, getting home! My sister was driving, while I was messing around with my iPod in the passengers seat. Within a split second, the car started shaking and we were driving over the rumble strips (aka the sleeper lines) and she started screaming my name. I popped my head up and saw a van, within arms reach, drifting all the way into our left-hand lane.
We plummeted into I-75’s median going 80 miles an hour. All I could do was scream “BRAKE!” and hold on for dear life. I glared through the windshield, as trees spun around the car like the 'trees' in car washes. Miraculously, the car went from drifting and doing donuts, to stopping out of nowhere. My heart had never been beating that fast in my entire life. Luckily, my sister and I were both unharmed and her car had very little damage.
Turns out my brother's best friend was managing a hotel about ten minutes down the road and he put us up in a free room for the night, somewhere in the outskirts of Gainesville.
Once my sister and I did eventually make it home, the following days I played the car accident in my head over and over again. I came to a conclusion that I could not die without someone knowing me, completely knowing me. I had to tell someone I was gay. It was quite an interesting epiphany.
This past Summer, starting with the car accident, has completely changed my life. I came out to my brother shortly after and I feel like this happened for a greater purpose than I could see at the time.
Did God use this experience to open my eyes and tell me I need to really start living? If I didn’t have that near death experience, I wouldn’t have learned how fragile life is and how much we need to embrace and enjoy it while it lasts. I honestly believe I would still be in the closet and continue driving down the wrong road if it weren't for this day.
Most people consider a car accident a tragedy, but I consider mine a gift from God...