Straight Ahead

“Sometimes, veering causes much more trouble;
there are times you just have hit whatever stands in your way.”

I was 13 when I first drove a manual Toyota car, of a model I don’t particularly remember—back then, I was certain I wanted to be race car driver; someone that would take NASCAR by storm. Eight years later, I’m managing a blog instead and I am not driving a car. I guess, things change; except, maybe, the fact that I never forgot something my uncle used to tell me.

It was a fateful, sunny day in a somehow-narrow street of the town we used to live in.

I remember going straight on a school-zone speed level: eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel, and most importantly—mind on the destination.

It was easy; I was a fast-learner.

Then, as I was told to increase my speed, I saw something that seriously baffled me a few meters away from the white old-model Toyota I was trying to learn to work around—a dog, injured halfway to the sidewalk: walking but barely moving at all.

I positioned my hand to swerve and avoid it because really, who would want to injure a stray that’s probably been badly hurt already. I was ready to veer but my uncle stopped me saying, “Sometimes, veering causes much more trouble; there are times you just have hit whatever stands in your way.”

I didn’t want to. I really didn’t want to but even at 13, I knew he had a point.

So the moment he told me to speed on, I did. Approaching the poor stray, I couldn’t close my eyes because I was driving. I was bound to see the impending wrath. I sounded the horn as a warning. The dog did look alarmed—but he didn’t look like he was going to make it to the sidewalk.

The inevitable happened.

No, I didn’t kill an injured dog when I was 13 but I might have hit a part of his body that was on my way. Meters away, I looked back through the rear view mirror and saw the poor stray—limping even more that he did before, hurt even more than he was before; but he was finally on the sidewalk, a place where he could probably recover for good.

I never recovered from that.

Even until now, I think that pain sends us on our way—just like the poor stray dog from eight years ago.

Eight years ago—as early as age 13—I have learned that to move forward, one must either swerve or head straight.

But when the road is narrow and the only option you have is hurting yourself or destroying a roadblock—you just have to go straight ahead and hit whatever stands in your way.

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