谁也不知道自己什么时候长大。有人打算毕业以后变得成熟些，也有人一辈子长不大，不愿意放弃童真。 还有人突然被扔进成年人的行列， 来不及回顾青春年少的时光。 我就是在一次开车回家的路上突然成熟的。
我出生成长在Fairbanks 一个中产的白人家庭。 小时候除了在体育比赛或者学习上遇到点挫折，没有什么其他值得惊奇的经历。 从来没有为钱或者吃穿发过愁，也没有经历过被人歧视。 总之，没有什么坎坷，轻轻松松地进入大学。 有时候 听娱乐界名人和商界巨富被采访，听他们讲述卑微的出身， 以及一路走来克服的重重困难， 直至功成名就， 我会有种嫉妒感。莫名其妙地， 我甚至会怨父母为什么给我这么顺利的生活环境，没有机会去经历别人经历的那些困难。讽刺的是，带着这份无知， 我很快被生活狠狠地教训了一下。
那晚我约会回来，比预期的晚了。 回家的路上，夜深人静。 边开车边琢磨到家后给父母编个什么借口为晚归开脱，当然我也知道他们是不会信的。 突然， 我的思绪被路中央的一个大土堆惊断。 我急速刹车，定睛一看，那不是一堆土， 而是一个驼鹿（moose）的尸体。 血水流满了路面，四处散落着车的碎片。 环顾四周，我发现两道近300尺的漆黑的车轮摩擦路面的痕迹，横穿路面 延伸到旁边的树林。 我关了车上的音乐，听到刺耳的车喇叭声。 喇叭声撕破了夜幕，让我的脸都因痛而抽搐。 我赶紧开到撞车的地方， 发现一辆银色的奥迪， 卡在一棵大树上。 车里有两个人，纹丝不动。我把车停好，呼唤他们， 盼着有人回应。 几分钟沉寂后， 我拨了911. 接线员在电话上指导我不要碰那辆车， 因为它可能会着火，也因为它可能对车上人的刺伤有固定作用。 她继续在电话上跟我说话，我忽然听到车里发出的声音。我走近些，大喊了几声， 听到一声痛苦的呻吟。 我安慰那个女人一切都好， 虽然她的丈夫一动不动地在流血。 这是我经历过的最最惨痛的情况，我费尽洪荒之力保持镇静并尽力施救。
我跟车上的女人聊着，得知她的名字叫迪迪。 911的接线员告诉我要不停地跟迪迪说话， 否则她很可能会失去知觉。 最难的是告诉她一切都好。 我知道自己在撒谎。 她的丈夫已经死了。 她也受了重伤。 一点都不好。 她告诉我她很冷。 我马上冲回自己的车上，把能找到的衣服都拿来盖在她身上。 保暖作用可能是杯水车薪，但是至少让我们两个都觉得为了情况好转做了点事。 终于，救护车到了，迪迪被送往医院， 我又跟 随车来的警察叙述了一遍经过。 我能听到迪迪的尖叫声，不知道是因为疼痛还是因为她知道了自己的丈夫已经去世。 我给警察交代完经过后，开车回家。
之后的一年， 每次我经过事故地点都能看到路上的刹车印和血迹。过了好久我才在脑子里慢慢消化了那晚发生的事， 让我意识到生命多么宝贵，又是多么脆弱，瞬间就可能失去。 那件事故之后，我对生命有了新的认识，尽量不虚度光阴。 对于那些失去亲人的人， 我也更增加了一份同情心。 总之，那件事故让我成熟了，让我真的认识了生活。
现在我再开过那段路的时候，不见了刹车印和血迹，取而代之的是一束鲜花。对我来说，那束鲜花代表生活的美好。 尽管最终避不开可恶的死亡， 但是坚决不许它抹黑我们对生活的美好回忆。
No one ever knows when they’re going to grow up. Some plan on becoming more mature when they graduate school, others spend their whole life as a kid never wanting to leave the innocence of childhood. Then there’s some who are thrust into adulthood without a second glance at their adolescence. For me, I took major leaps in my maturity during a simple drive home.
I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska in a white middle class family; the only adversity I ever faced was either in sports or school, but never anything incredible that would make jaws drop. I’d never struggled with money, food, or any type of discrimination, all in all I had been able to skip along into college with essentially no adversity. I’d listen to interviews of celebrities and business tycoons talking about their humble beginnings and all the impossible challenges they had to face to achieve their success, and I’d actually get jealous. In a strange way, I found myself resenting my parents for giving me such a great life without all of struggles so many others have gone through. The irony in my arrogance is not lost on me, and I soon found the intensity of life being thrust onto me.
I was driving home, and it was the dead of night. I had just finished going on a date and it went a little longer than I had anticipated. I was brainstorming ideas on the drive to sell my parents on why I was so late, but as usual I knew they weren’t going to buy it. All of sudden, my train of thought was interrupted by giant pile of dirt in the middle of the road. I slammed my brakes to examine what exactly I was seeing and soon realized there was no pile of dirt and this was a moose carcass. The road was covered in blood and there were pieces of a car strewn all across the highway. I looked and saw two jet black tire streaks stretching nearly 300 feet across the road and into the woods. I turned down my music and I could hear the loud blaring of the car horn. It cut through the night and made me wince to hear. I sped over to the crash to find a silver Audi wedged into a tree with two passengers still as rock. I parked my car and ran over to help, calling to them hoping to God I’d hear someone call back. It was silent for minutes and I called 911, the operator on the phone instructed me not to touch the vehicle as it could be flammable or be holding together puncture wounds of the passengers. She continued to talk to me, and I heard a voice from the car. I got closer and began yelling back to hear only to hear an agonizing moan. I tried to assure the woman it was okay, even as her husband laid motionless bleeding. It was the most stressful situation I’ve ever found myself in, and it took everything in my being to remain calm as well as do everything in my power to fix the situation.
As I talked to the woman I learned her name was DeeDee, and I was told by the 911 operator I had to keep talking to DeeDee or there was a higher probability she’d lose consciousness. The hardest part was telling her everything was okay. I knew I was lying to her and myself. Her husband was dead and she was severely injured, nothing was okay. What she did tell me was that she was cold, so I rushed to my car and grabbed every jacket I could possibly find and put across her. It was a pretty pathetic attempt to keep her warm, but it convinced both of us something was being done to help.Eventually, the ambulance and responders arrived and I had to talk to the troopers about what had happened as DeeDee was rushed to the hospital. I could hear her scream as she was taken out of the vehicle, and to this day I’m not sure if it was from the pain or that she realized her husband was gone. I gave my statement, to the troopers, and drove home.
For the next year, every time I drove into town I would have to pass the accident site and see the skid marks, and blood stain on the road. It took me a while to really process what had happened, but it brought me to a realization of how special life is and how quickly it can be taken away from you. Since the accident, I’ve grown to try and get as much as I can out of life, and have a new appreciation for it. I’m more sympathetic towards those that lose loved ones or go through traumatic experiences. Overall, the accident really made me mature and put the concept of life into perspective for me. I am eternally grateful for the life I have, and need to make the most of it. Now when I drive by the place of the accident the skid and blood marks are gone, and instead there is a bouquet of flowers laying on the roadside. To me, those flowers represent the beauty in life and even though death is such an ugly truth, it shouldn’t disparage the happy memoires of one’s life.
Picture from the internet: https://www.foxnews.com/great-outdoors/alaska-moose-hunt-antlers-illegal-jail