"Headlights"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
The effects of drink-driving can be disastrous, as one young man finds out when he decides to drive after drinking at a high school party.

Submitted: July 17, 2008

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Submitted: July 17, 2008

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[This is based on the lyrics of the song “Headlights” by Scenes From A Movie. It’s for all those people out there who have ever driven while under the influence of alcohol, been in a car with a drunk driver or know of people who have been in drink-driving related accidents. I want you to be aware of the dangers while driving intoxicated.]

 
We’d all had a lot to drink that night. Now I know that doesn’t excuse what happened but it makes the situation a whole lot easier to understand.
 
*1*
It all started at my best mate Nigel Henderson’s Saturday night party. His parent’s were away for the weekend on a wedding anniversary vacation to sunny Surfer’s Paradise so he decided to throw a huge bash for our entire year on his front lawn. I didn’t really want to go because I had a huge assignment to do over the weekend and a hangover wouldn’t help but Nigel twisted my arm by telling me my girlfriend had agreed to go. So to make everyone happy I decided I’d be the designated driver for my really close friends.
My girlfriend, Kim, was the supplier of the alcohol. She filled a huge keg with beer and propped it on Nigel’s lawn on a green recycling bin and she chucked one hundred plastic cups in a bucket next to it so all the partygoers could help themselves.
“There.” Kim said, dusting her hands. “Let’s see anyone stay sober now!”
“There’s one hundred and fifty people in our year.” I pointed out logically, noticing her shortage of plastic cups.
“That’s including the nerds, band geeks and emos that won’t be coming.” Kim replied.
I nodded politely at her but couldn’t help but feel sorry for the unpopular kids in our year that weren’t really invited to Nigel’s party.
 
Later on into the night the crowd grew from ten of us to about fifty before the rugby team turned up with all their girlfriends. By midnight the keg was empty and since I was the designated driver it was my responsibility to go and get it filled up again. I seriously contemplated filling it up with water until I discovered a liquor outlet with cheap beer.
When I returned, the party had slowed because everyone needed refills so I was cheered on when I replaced the keg. The music blared from Nigel’s dad’s new sound system in the lounge and, after refuelling; everyone was in a tight huddle watching some guy break dancing on the grass. No one was watching the keg so I decided to pour myself a cup of the beer I had just bought. Bad idea, I can safely say now.
 
*2*
At three in the morning the party had cooled right off. The cops came at two and told us to turn off the music or they’d confiscate the stereo. It didn’t take long for the party to get boring after that and once the rugby guys left, everyone else followed.
The garden was a disaster. All Nigel’s mum’s plants were trampled and the whole lawn was littered with discarded paper cups. It had started to rain a little earlier so Nigel, Kim and I and a few other guys that were still hanging around picked up as many of the cups as we could before it got too heavy and we had to turn in.
I had organised to take three guys and Kim home after the party but they had found other transport and so it was only Kim and I now. And so we waved goodbye to an extremely drunk Nigel and ran through the rain to my car parked on the street.
 
 
 
*3*
Kim lived up in the hills. Her dad was a doctor and owned a huge pad up there overlooking the city. Kim and I would sit in the car at sunset every Sunday night and watch for when all the streetlights turned on at the same time.
The deserted roads were wet on the way up to Kim’s house. The puddles reflected the light from my headlights onto the cliff faces that lined the roads through the hills. I turned to look at Kim, although her hair was dripping wet and matted together horribly she looked beautiful. Her blue eyes shone in the electric light being shot into the passenger seat from the opposite direction.
Wait.
I jerked my head back to the road in front of me to be blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. My hands gripped the wheel tightly and I swerved the car to the right. I started to skid and lost control of the car, when I slammed the brakes they had no effect on the speed I was travelling at. The car coming towards me was getting closer and closer until it was dead in front of my eyes. I couldn’t move. I was beaten.
I heard a sickening bang and my head pounded into the steering wheel. In slow motion I turned my head to Kim only to watch her crashing through the windshield.
She had forgotten her seatbelt.
I could only look on in horror as her limp body hurled into the glass just inches in front of her to begin with. The full force from the speed I was driving throwing my girlfriend to her death. In a deafening crash the windscreen shattered with the weight of her. The car finally came to a stop, as did Kim’s body. I checked I could move my legs and though I could taste blood in my mouth and feel it trickling down my cheek, I leapt from the car.
I looked her over before I touched her. Kim lay on the road among sharp shards of glass from my windshield. The road was wet beneath her pale body, the rain continued to patter down onto her skin, washing the blood from cuts on her face.
I listened for a sound of life from Kim in the sudden silence. Her body was still in the pool of light from my headlights. I scrambled to get down beside her; I struggled to hear the sound of her beating heart. I felt her slender wrist for a pulse. But there was none.
 
*4*
I stood back from Kim’s body when the emergency services arrived, watching my life fall apart in front of my very eyes.
I wanted to go back to the party, rewind to when I filled up my cup for the first time. I wished I could turn back time and stop myself getting drunk and taking Kim’s life into my own shaky hands.
I wished I could be anywhere but here, surrounded by the shattered glass, mangled car bodies and the sirens of the fire trucks, ambulances and police cars. It had all happened so fast, one second I was admiring Kim’s beauty, the next she was lying dead on the road in my arms covered in my tears, her blood and the rain.
 
An ambulance paramedic saw me standing near the police tape to the side of the crash site with my arms crossed watching them take my girlfriend’s cold stiff body away in a black bag on a stretcher. He asked me to come with him and he would clean up my wounds. I considered asking him if he could somehow bring my girlfriend back to life or at least mend my broken and bleeding heart but I thought against it. There’s no point being sarcastic about a tragedy so I just followed him over to the ambulance.
He sat me in the back and wound a gauze bandage around my head to cover a deep cut in my forehead. He told me that cut and one on my lip would need some stitches.
I looked out the rain-spattered window of the ambulance as we drove away from the scene of her death, I had gotten off lightly and for that I would never forgive myself.


© Copyright 2017 AJ Benjamin. All rights reserved.

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