One night you plan on going to sleep when 11 PM hits and then you’re hit with something else. Your uncle, only 7 years your senior, is in a cab and on his way to your apartment with the intention of sake bombs and karaoke somewhere secret and still open in these late hours of Japantown. I get my jeans back on and grab my keys to head out the door and into the uncertain night where we end up singing Journey with Australians, enjoy half a dozen takoyaki, and mistake Bump of Chicken as a menu item at Mogura rather than the name of a prominent Japanese band. It wasn’t a Wednesday night I was expecting, but for a small chance to immerse myself in the closest way I can to a late night in Japan, I was up for some more fun.
So when I went out to San Jose last weekend I was expecting many things. A weekend away from the city, seeing old friends from college, experiencing a city all over again that had once held so many sentiments for me.
San Jose is where my two friends attend law school, where my childhood spent in the back of my dad’s sports memorabilia store in East Ridge Mall was played out, where there are fields where I used to sit on their sidelines and watch my ex boyfriend coach children after school hours. It’s not the place where I thought I would be in a car crash.
The accident happened in the midst of a Friday night, 2 AM or sometime after it. In N Out, Denny’s; we were all scoping out our options for soaking up the gin and tonics and fireball shots we’d taken together down in Santana Row. Squashed in the middle, you might be a bit annoyed at the limited space, but hey, you’re the smallest of the group. At least there’s a seat belt. You’re all about safety, and it’s a bonus if the middle seat has a shoulder strap rather than just across the waist. Your friend isn’t as paranoid as you, and you make him strap on his just as he hesitates to reject your warnings out of playful spite. A few laughs, a steady speed past an intersection, still not sure about what to eat– and then it all hits.
There are people in my life now and things that have happened where years back I wouldn’t think much to where we all are now/ what’s going on currently. In that moment in my life I was speechless, sandwiched, and thankfully unharmed after what seemed like a sudden stop in everything, time especially. It stopped, and just long enough to really think about, well, damn. This just happened, and you never really think that this, accidents, happen. And not with the people you particularly find yourself stranded on the side of the road in a wrecked car.
Old friends, college friends; the girl you sat next to in your your 5PM nonfiction class the first semester back from being out of school for half a year to aid a sick grandfather, the guy you first saw when he was the only guy actually to last the whole freshman spring in the Jane Austen class of 20 girls, and later borrowed quarters from in the laundry room sometime in that same year. I’m still stuck by these people, and never did I think upon our first encounters this is where we’d be nearly 7 years later, dazed and freaking out that not only were we all just hit from the side– but that the man who did was just taking off right then and there, and speeding off into the night with his horrific pleas of forgiveness for not having a license falling deaf on our ears.
Things happen, things change. The future is the only real direction we have about this vast void of life. Try as we might to “live” right, there’s no real understanding of our existence, of plain old why live. And in that we try to make life meaningful by our own definitions, create a future that varies for each person. Except one thing that remains inevitable: future, for everyone, is uncertainty. It’s a scary thing, and yet it’s just as strange and beautiful. You find yourself staying out late nights with family or friends. Sometimes they’re people you didn’t think would stay long in your life or the last people you could see yourself be with. You don’t look to a particular person and think about how you actually might have save their life too.
We don’t think about these little encounters or people we come across, but now, now I will. Who knows what future I shall continue sharing with the people in my life right now, and who knows what amazing things might still happen and even better, what people I still haven’t met yet. Or even in the littlest things, like a prayer card for Saint Gabriel, those who are always besides you unseen, but caring– saving you as our driver was saved when his head hit right where the card was plastered, to his steering wheel.
It’s all shocking really, but you find yourself smiling. Even if you’re tired, even if you’re still in shock and cold and stranded on a road. And still hungry for In N Out.
Have you ever thought about the future of certain things in your life as they come into it?
Author: Paris Kim
Author Bio: Paris Kim is a writer in San Francisco. She chronicles her weekly mishaps on her blog series A Week by the Bay as well as writes poems on her typewriter, Rex. She’s all for catching the bus on time, too much sugar, and reading Annabel Lee over and over again.
Link to social media or website: http://aweekbythebay.com