THE NIGHT BEFORE COLLEGE
story + images / Gina Tron
It was the night before college. It was the night before I was supposed to leave Barre, Vermont in order to move to Montreal. I was watching a movie on a couch in Barre City with my two friends at the time, one of which refused to be seen with me in public.
Hanging with these two was the extent of the high school parties I attended, basically. The night was boring as always and didn’t satisfy any desires I had about leaving the house. In fact, it probably would have been better for me to have stayed in. At least then I could have daydreamed about what kind of fun adventures I could potentially get into in the real world. My friends never wanted to go on adventures. When they did it was seldom and they didn’t like to push the boundaries like I did.
I left their house disappointed and unsatisfied and hopped into my shit-mobile. It was my 1986 Mazda 626. It was always screeching and breaking down in the year of 2000, a year that was way too futuristic for this monstrosity. After moronically crashing my 1992 Corolla a week after getting my license, the choices I had for a new car were slim. I was lucky that my parents were shelling out any money for a car at all. The slimy car salesman tried to tell me that this car was “cool.” “I know it may not look like it. But this car is cool. I know what it was like to be cool. I used to get jiggy with it.” And forever more, that song will haunt me.
After leaving the movie session, I picked up my 12 year old brother from his friend’s house. On the drive home, I began my usual routine of teasing him about his love for his buddy, Davey. By love I mean imagined love, imagined by me for my own entertainment. A mixtape I made which had been jammed and stuck in the player blasted Snoop Dogg’s “Murder Was The Case.” I had been listening to the same songs on repeat for months at this point.
If I drove like I usually did, which was like a maniac, my brother would tattle. I didn’t want to have to hear shit upon returning home. So, slowly I drove. We drove by the granite quarries and down a dimly lit road. We were getting near our General Store which was approaching on the right. The only light around came from it’s parking lot. The store was closed.
On the left hand side of the street and out of the darkness, a dark figure darted out. I ran out so fast, I thought it was a deer. I then saw what I thought was a deer turn human. Panic followed. I screamed. My brother screamed. I slam on the brakes. I hear a thump and look in my window side mirror to see a young girl lying on the ground behind my silver shit-mobile. I start whimpering. My brother and I looked at eachother for a few seconds without saying anything. I was certain I had just killed somebody.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do up until that point in my life was open that fucking car door and check on her. When I got out of the car, the girl was already upright and limping. She was crying. I nearly had a heart attack with happiness. I was so relieved that she was not dead.
“Oh god, are you okay?” I ask her.
Before she can answer, a group of teenagers ran over from the darkness she leapt from. They all begin apologizing to me immediately. The victim was too.
“I wasn’t looking. I….I’m sorry.”
They kids were around my age, maybe a year younger. But I didn’t recognize any of them. They looked like the human equivalent of stray puppies. They had probably already dropped out of school years ago, or were home-schooled. Street cats, kind of. Hill cats. Blue eyed, blonde haired with Fashion Bug sweat pants and Newport shirts. Kids like this had never been sweeter to me than the day I hit one of them with my fucking car.
“They must be on drugs,” I thought. I further thought this when I asked if I should call the police.
“NO! NO! It’s fine. We are sorry!!” They started backing away instinctively.
Two of the strays starting helping the limping fawn back into the darkness .Looks like I found an adventure that night after-all. And what better way to kick off college than hitting someone with your car!