I remember the headlights and the shiny bumper on the white SUV. I was swerving and my husband was yelling at me, “You’re going to roll the car!”
The only thing separating vehicles from other vehicles on the road is about five feet of air and an imaginary do not cross barrier. What are drivers on these days? How many believe they’re experienced drivers who are immune to the effects of alcohol or hard drugs, or marijuana for the argument? Or was he texting?
My car didn’t roll, but I felt the unsteady jerking beneath me. I had swerved to the right towards the soft, gravel shoulder, and the SUV driver swerved to the left, missing my little Hyundai Accent by mere inches, tucking himself back in. He couldn’t see us when he thought he could pass? There was no warning. He drove out directly in front me.
That’s all I remember. My husband yelling, near tipping of my car, and the white SUV’s headlights and shiny bumper.
My life is forever changed.
Everything I have worked for, everyone I have loved or not loved, every sticky note I’ve written to remind myself of something wouldn’t matter beyond the micro second that it takes to die, then leave my body, and watch the vehicles embrace, in a crunching tangle from my soul floating 20 feet above. I’d look for my husband as he was extracted. He’d be limp and bent unnaturally. I’d try to see myself behind the battered face I used to recognize. The emergency team would pull my squashed body out. I’d see my husband looking, too. We’d then see each other hovering above the chaos, and we’d remember the discussions we so often had about dying together as neither of us could bear the emptiness if we were left behind. Also, there he would be, the drunk driver being extracted from his white SUV. He’d be bloodied and crying, repeatedly saying he’s so sorry. He’d be banged up, but he’d see his loved ones again. He’d finish projects, he’ll drink again.
He’ll forget about the people he killed when he drinks himself to sleep, but the dead will be there every time he wakes.
Nothing would matter anymore. Not my novel which was accepted by a trustworthy publisher, not the closet I meant to clean out, not the computer I am writing this on— nothing. Not a thing would matter. Our lives would matter to all who had to receive the dreaded news, though. Our grown kids, our friends. Our bosses. Our innocent cats who always wait to hear the door open would be surprised as family came in to do what had to be done. Maybe our cats would pine to death in a shelter, separated from us and each other.
None of this death aftermath happened, though, but my life has changed nonetheless.
Thank God we are alive. No one can tell me God didn’t have the last say at that near head on collision. Why am I here? I’m going to find out. We all should find out why we’re here. A micro second wipe out could be anyone’s ultimate fate, but when?
Live before you leave. Really, really live. God Bless.