Something Relative
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Student Life

Something Relative

3: Well-lit Wayward Paths

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Something Relative
De'Juan McDuell

“This cannot be accident; it must be design. I was kept for this job.” ~ Winston Churchill

Your Supplementary Restraint System hangs exhausted from two new holes in your dashboard and steering wheel. You inhale scents that you’ve never associated with cloth or leather; from neither sedan nor coupe. Your nose draws in a mixture of singed nylon and nitrogen or argon or some other chemical combination that the layman nose cannot identify.

Unfasten the seatbelt that probably kept your head off the wheel and your body away from the newly cracked windshield.

Once outside, you rub your head, pace, take pictures and rework the transportation puzzle that didn’t exist 12 minutes ago. At some point during all this, your eyes cradle the wreckage with new awareness. New creases have been carved out of a flat design. Doors, wheels, mirrors and headlights are moved or absent altogether. Pieces of metal flicker in the sun, and plastic particles salt the grass, dirt, and concrete shoulder with debris that you don’t care to identify. Inside pieces are outside. You can’t believe this happened. You can’t believe the windshield can still be intact with so many cracks stretching its expanse. You can’t believe that doors crinkle like used loose leaf sheets, but they do. And you can’t believe you walked away without a limp, scratch, or bruise.


rel∙a∙tive (adjective) – not permanently fixed, but having a meaning or value that can only be established in relation to something else and will change according to circumstances or context

Tim and I went out on more than a few nights to drink with people we never met; we never saw most of them again.

We went to one party armed with 96 ounces of Steel Reserve malt liquor; “tall boys”. This was Tim’s idea. He said they were cheap, and my foolish undergraduate mind couldn’t argue with that logic.

The beer permeated my tongue soaking my taste buds like garbage juices on paper towels. We chugged the “8% Alc. Vol.” solution fearing the degradation of its flavor should the contents become warm. We found a refrigerator, and slid the backup drinks into the trembling door. Over heavy bass and under the cover of the unnatural absence of light, Tim assured me that no one would be taking our drinks while we explored the nameless household.

It was big...and dirty. We drifted around the first floor people watching between chugs of death in a can. After an hour passed, I shuddered at the pressurized crack of my second drink.


“Before my accident I was a little too... selfish and self-absorbed and for me, to now be at the place where I can kinda give back and inspire people. I'm blessed. I'm really blessed.” ~ Rick Allen

You likely traveled oblivious to the sounds of humanity’s impression on nature. It’s doubtful that you smelled anything peculiar. Chances are that you gripped the steering wheel with moderate pressure, and sat comforted by cotton, nylon, leather or weather resistant polymer seats. Your mouth might have been dry; then again, you might have been salivating at the thought of a late lunch; an early dinner. Wherever your other senses were, your sight was focused on the sedan’s wayward path; the coupe’s swerving action.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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