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First Place, Nonfiction, Grade 10-12: Unforgettable, A Day to Remember

Katie Seybert,16

“Are you sure they should be snow machining at night?” my mom asked my dad while my friends and I prepared for our ride. “They’ll be fine. Besides they won’t be out too late. They’ll want to hang out at our New Year’s Eve party,” my dad reassured. “Bye dad,” I called as we walked out the door. I was psyched. I’d waited hours for my friends to arrive so that we could go snow machining. I’d even told them to arrive early, before our New Year’s Eve party took place so that we could also hang out at the party. “Ok, so do both of you want to ride a machine?” I asked. “I do,” Sophy piped up. “I think I’d crash it. I’m not the best driver, and it would be my first time driving,” Hidey announced. “Ok, Everet you can ride with Sophy on my machine. You guys will take turns. Hidey you can ride with me on mine,” I stated as we hopped onto our powerful machines.

This was my first time driving my dad’s machine and I was a little nervous. His was as black as night. Although, my dad’s machine was the fastest I drove slower than Everet who had control of my yellow snowmachine. I watched in amazement and jealousy as my cousin flew by me driving on the trail that led to Sand Lake. Pressing on the gas I quickly followed him. The first lengthwise run on Sand Lake was incredible. I screamed with sheer enjoyment as we flew across the lake. There was nothing that could beat snow machining on this lake at top speeds. I could even go faster than I normally did. The first trip across felt like Christmas morning.

I was pretty disappointed when the feeling went away. As I studied my surroundings I realized that the snow had several paths in them that were hard to cross. I would slow down when I came upon path after path, while my cousin would wiz by. After half an hour, my cousin stopped and suggested we switch machines. I happily obliged. I was far more comfortable on lightning (my snow machine). I begin going faster and getting used to going over the several paths made by snow machines Turning around to locate my dad’s snow machine I saw Sophy going as fast as a rocket. It looked like a blast. I felt vaguely disappointed that we had switched machines when I realized something, we could switch back.

“Hidey, I’m going to switch snow machines,” I stated as I brought Lightning to a halt. “Ok,” she replied. Sophy rode past us before realizing that we had stopped and wanted a turn on my dad’s machine. Coming to a stop we agreed that Sophy would stay on and we’d take turns driving it. I pressed on the gas and was amazed at how fast we could safely go. I screamed with joy as we rode. I sped over bumps and diverging paths. It was as though we were flying, and I had no fear of falling. We took in breathtaking fireworks and both laughed. It was the best day ever.

After Sophy’s third turn I realized an issue. We were riding past holes of ice that fishermen had built. We were way too close to the edge of the lake. I wanted to say something but then thought better of it. If Sophy’s going this fast than she clearly must know what she’s doing. I held onto her body tighter. Turning towards the other side we went past a dock. We were way too close to that dock. Sophy continued to go faster and I wanted to scream. I saw the crash before it happened. I considered grabbing the handles and forcing the machine to turn but my hands didn’t react fast enough. With a moment's breath it crashed into the dock and we were flying. I landed in the snow and could barely move. My back was on fire. It hurt so badly. I wanted to cry but didn’t have the energy as I struggled to breathe. “Katie are you ok?” Sophy whimpered to me. I said yes and then shook my head. I couldn’t get up. My back felt like a million bricks had snapped into it. My cousin pulled up with my machine and asked if we were ok. Gaining the energy, I hesitantly stood up and quickly went over to Sophy. “Are you ok?” I questioned. “I’m in shock,” she said as she remained on the ground. I stood over her until she was able to move. “Nobody breathes a word of this to my parents,” I announced.

That option quickly became unavailable as we surveyed the machine. “I think I can fix it,” Everet said nervously as he attempted to put one side of the machine back into its former position. I shook my head as I noticed the other parts that had also fallen off. “My parents are going to kill me,” I wailed. “We should probably call them up,” Everet confirmed. I borrowed Hidey’s phone and called home. My mom picked the phone up. I sat on the dock as I gathered the nerve to tell her what happened. I turned over to Sophy and saw her sitting down in defeat. “I’m sorry Katie,” she mouthed. I have to take the responsibility for this I thought before admitting that I had been in fact driving the machine. My mom was pissed. “Sorry doesn’t cut it,” After hanging up the phone I started crying. Hidey put her arm around both of us.

“You didn’t have to do that Katie,” Sophy said. I nodded but continued to cry. “My mom’s so mad. She’s going to kill me. I wrecked my dad’s machine,” I blubbered. Hidey attempted to comfort us. Everet returned on Lightning and took us back one at a time. I hesitantly started walking towards the house past the bond fire. My sister’s husband Seth saw me and led me up there. “I feel like I’m walking off the plank,” I announced. “It’s ok, she’ll forgive you,” Seth noted. “But wipe away the tears before walking in,” he advised at the doorstep. I nodded and then left him.

My mom quickly asked if anyone was hurt and got ice for Sophy who’d damaged her wrist. My older sister Kelsey asked me who had been driving the machine. “Sophy was, but I told mom I was,” I admitted. “Why?” Kelsey asked. “Because I didn’t want Sophy to get in trouble,” “But nobody’s to blame,” I shook my head. It kinda was my fault. I could have turned the machine before it hit the dock or even better yet told her not to ride so close to the shore. I asked my parents if I was going to be grounded and they told me that we’d talk tomorrow after the party. I sat beside my friends on the coach. “Was it me or did that crash happen in slow motion?” Sophy asked. “I know I felt like I should have turned the machine but it happened so fast,” After spending time with them I went back to the fire. I hung out with my other friends who were also at our New Year’s eve party; Bree, Heather, and Graylin. We played with sparklers, ran around the lake, and teased Graylin about having a boyfriend. I tried to ignore the pit in my stomach that said I’d ruined everything.

That night I could barely sleep. I had nightmare after nightmare of the crash, and the disappointment in my mom’s face. The following morning I quickly got dressed. I wanted to have the punishment lashed out so that I could get on with my life. I threw on my simple hand necklace. My aunt had given it to me during a rough patch and had told me it was God’s hand protecting me.

That morning my family and I had a serious talk on honesty and safety. My mom reminded me of the valuation of honesty and that you should never cover up for your friends. That being said I was still responsible for the crash because they were our machines and I’d let her go that fast by the shore. My dad told me that he’d waited for a chance like this to come around so that I’d learn the fine line between danger and fun. Using vehicles like snow machines, bicycles, and cars could be really dangerous. Which meant you had to be very careful before you got hurt. My dad had wanted to give this lecture last year after I’d sped down a long hill on the Fireweed trail but he didn’t think I’d understand the seriousness of situations like these because I’d never faced a fatal crash. It was difficult having this discussion due to the disappointment on my parents’ faces.

This incident taught me a lot. It taught me the responsibility of telling the truth even if it got my friends in trouble. As well as the responsibility in allowing my friends to use my gear. Lastly, I learned that irresponsibility had major consequences. I’d never be able to go snow machining with my dad again because his machine was wrecked. More than that both Sophy and I could have been killed during the crash. We got lucky.


By Katie Seybert, 16