This afternoon while I was driving to pick up a pizza, I heard the song "Angel" by Aerosmith and had a little bit of a flashback. I was thirteen or so, no older than that, and I was in Palmyra, Wisconsin, visiting my friend Hope, who had moved away from our middle school the year before. It was January. She and I were on our way back to her house from a dance at her new school. One her friends, an older guy, maybe someone's older brother, was driving. He was someone's older brother, I think - I don't remember feeling any romantic vibes from him, ether towards me or Hope, although I could have been wrong. I wasn't always the best at picking up on those things. I don't remember his name.
Anyway, we're driving home from the dance. I'm in the backseat, sitting sideways with my feet up, tired in the good way that you get tired from dancing your ass off the whole night. I'm sleepy, and happy to be with Hope, who I had missed a lot after she went away, and glad and she and I are still friends. She and the driver are chatting. "Angel" comes on the radio. The song gets to the chorus, and suddenly the car is spinning, whirling around. Nothing out the windows makes sense, so I close my eyes and make a wish to the universe and then we are flying and then we have stopped.
"come and save me tonight!" Steven Tyler wails.
I open my eyes. "Is everyone okay?" the driver asks, and Hope and I say yes. He's not - there's a bone sticking out of the skin in his wrist - but there isn't much blood, so no one's going to die. We all tumble out of the car (is it a Camaro? I don't remember. It could have been. It's something like a Camaro, anyway, a sports car favored by guys like our driver, guys with rough hands and sleevelss t-shirts.) It's cold out, and there's snow on the ground, and we realize that we've soared over a shallow culvert, maybe thirty feet wide, and landed on the bank on the other side. The road seems impossibly high-up from where we are standing in our dancing clothes.
A car stops at the top of the hill. "Hey, are you okay?" some guy shouts. We're not.
I don't have clear memories of the rest, just bits and pieces. I don't remember, for example, how we got to hospital. I do recall calling my mom and her deciding to let me stay overnight at Hope's anyway. I remember the seatbelt bruises that showed up across Hope's ample chest the next day, and the black and blue mass that my arm became. (I had slammed sideways into Hope's seat. In a strange and ironic twist, her seatbelt saved her from flying through the window, and my lack of one saved me from breaking my neck.) I remember seeing Hope again (we got lost in the woods that day, a story for another time). I still don't remember the driver's name, but I remember his bone, pale and white in the moonlight.