Half my current lifetime ago, on a busy highway in the Mojave of California, my two eldest brothers died in a grey 1987 Honda Civic. Neither of them were wearing a seat belt, neither of them suffered more than a few seconds. A few seconds. Long enough to exhale a breath, for the heart to beat a few times, for a head to settle on the shoulder of the brother sitting in the driver's seat.
Half my life ago I was a sixteen year-old with a learners' permit and a crush on a boy named Zach. Naive and relatively unfettered, living in what had to be the whitest place in America, where autonomy was not being a member of the dominant religion, I had no idea about the horrors of humanity and that terrible things could happen to my family. We didn't even have to lock our doors at night. But in an instant, that sixteen year-old who wore overalls to high school during sophomore year in January 1999 was jolted from Utopia by a single-car accident in the desert.