In August of 2008, I was offered a job working for my step dad down in Houston, Texas. I weighed all my options and outcomes and thought about everything I could think of. I have three best friends that I have known for almost 7 years and another one that I had known for that long, but never got close to until earlier that year. So their opinion was really important to me.
Eventually I decided to leave my hometown of Des Moines (south seattle), Washington, take a year off of college and move down to Houston to make some good money.I talked to my friends and family and they understood my decision, I was going to be given a house to live in and a company car to drive, completely. Which is a really good deal when you’re only 19 years old. Another perk is that I was going to be going all up and down the east coast for different jobs that we were getting and potentially norway, trinidad and chile. So then all of the sudden it was almost christmas and I was kind of bummed because I hadn’t seen any of my friends or family in a few months. I asked my step dad for a few weeks off because of it being really slow due to hurricane Ike pushing all of our work back to january and february. He said yes, so I bought my plane ticket to seattle immediately.
My trip up there was good for the first week and a half. Then on the night of january 2nd one of my friends thought it would be fun to go to a strip club for a celebration type thing because I hadn’t been home in so long. So the five of us decide to go plus this guy ______, who was more of my friend w______’s friend but we were all cool with each other, because we ran into him at starbucks before we all headed out there. So we all head out there in two cars. We were out there for a few hours and I we decided to leave. I think it was around 1 30 AM (I knowwww, a really great time to be out and about around a strip club). So we’re in the parking lot and one of my best friends, ____, calls shotgun. And I say “shotgun….in _____’s car?” And ____ says ” no way man I get _____’s car” and I say something like “jerk” or something jokingly. Looking back, that whole conversation was weird because the friend that this story is about is ALWAYS the first to yell shotgun as soon as the foot of the driver is stepped out the door of wherever we go. But this time I beat him. So we leave the parking lot and are driving down a two lane road and we’re following my friend _____. We come to a stop light so my friend gets into the left hand lane so _____ is on our right. I look over to my right and it looks like _____ was going to say something so I went to roll down my window. I got about halfway and a car plowed right into the back or my friends car. His car got thrown forward and spun on the nose and did a 180 degree spin. I got out and ran over to their car and everyone was knocked out. The guy that called shotgun was the one to come to first, and then the driver. But ______ never did. I jumped in the car when the driver got out and and the guy in shotgun and I started yelling for our friend in the back to wake up. I grabbed his shoulder and shook it and he made a really loud gasping noise and jerked and stopped moving. Looking back, I know that was the last breath he took, but at the time I thought that meant he was responding. He was on lifesupport for two days until his parents decided to let him go. I’ve never been through anything harder in my life. Its weird because during the day when I’m at work, I can think about him without being sad. But as soon as I go back to my hotel, sometimes it starts as soon as we’re leaving the work site on the drive back to the hotel, or go back home or have any down time for myself, all I think about is him and how unfair it is that he’s gone.
I don’t think I blame myself for his death. Even though I know he would still be alive if I hadn’t moved away because there wouldn’t have been a need to go to a stupid strip club because I would have been home the whole time. Even though I know how much this is effecting me, I don’t think it’s fully hit me yet. In my head I know he’s gone. But since I’m so used to having to wait a few months at a time to be able to go back home, my heart feels like he’s going to still be there when I go back home. Or maybe its my brain that thinks he’s still here…I don’t know. and I almost like it like that. You have no idea how scared I am to go back home. Because the first time I go past the skatepark and his car isn’t there, I know I’m going to break down again. I’m really scared to go back home. Its just going to bring everything back. But I know that its something I’m going to have to go through if I’m ever going to get over everything. Evreything is just horrible. And right now four months later I’m sitting in a hotel room in alabama still kicking myself for missing out on the last six months of one of my best friend’s life for money. I regret it everyday. This experience has taught me that money is not everything. And if I can take that out of this situation, I guess that’s something I can be proud of. But it doesn’t even out the fact that my best friend died.