The traffic on the expressway came to a dead stop in front of me. I stopped. I looked in my rear-view mirror; felt relief because no one was right on my tail. Looked at the exit ramp, wishing there was some way to weave through the idling cars, but realized it wasn’t going to happen. Looked forward again, trying to figure out how long we might be stuck. Then…kablam!
That was the last normal moment I experienced.
With the first hit, which I wasn’t expecting at all, the world exploded. I was shoved forward into the car in front of me and felt myself being thrown. My air bag went off. I think I might have put my arm up to protect my face, but I really can’t be sure. And then, there was a second hit. Harder than the first one. Much harder. Shoving me forward again. I remember thinking, “How many times am I going to get hit?” “Is this ever going to end?” Because it felt like it went on and on. Even though it was probably over in a matter of seconds. It was terrifying.
Glad I was wearing my seat belt.
Thankfully, the third and fourth hit I feared was coming never happened.
I was shaking. I couldn’t think. I needed to call someone, but couldn’t remember who to call. Finally remembering I should probably call my brother. Looking for my purse, now in the floorboards. Noticing part of my jewelry, the jewelry I had been wearing, laying in one of the cup holders. Pulling my phone out. Trying to remember how to use it. Searching the contacts for my brother’s name. The phone ringing. He answered. I don’t even remember what I said. Just, “I’ve been in a wreck. A bad one. I think my arm may be broken.”
I needed to get someone to let my dogs out. I think I called my aunt. My sister-in-law. Called a friend at work. Then realized in a panic, my car could still be hit again. And I cut off the current call because I HAD to get out of that car…what was left of it…RIGHT NOW!
Then seeing my car. Realizing I no longer had a car. My new car; gone. Broken into pieces and beyond repair. I walked away.
I stopped like a good girl. The world didn’t.
Actually, my world stopped a long time ago. This was just one more time when I had the brakes on, waiting for the path ahead to clear, listening and watching. Hoping to find a way when there wasn’t one. Observing. Waiting. Trying to be patient. Only to be run down and destroyed. Waiting patiently didn’t change the outcome. Didn’t stop the bad stuff from mowing me down…yet again. Didn’t keep it from crashing into me and taking everything away.
My arm hurt. At first, it stung badly. Then it felt a little numb. And then the pain came in waves that got bigger and bigger and bigger until I couldn’t think of anything except how agonizing it felt. It appeared to be broken. Deformed and lumpy on one side, though, thankfully, no bones sticking out. The medics who left me standing in the grass as they checked out the others who were involved said it was broken. Said they would be back. To hold it to my chest. To please wait. And to stay right where I was.
I didn’t have anywhere to go. Or anything to go in.
No option except to go in the ambulance that finally took me to the hospital. After the policeman confiscated my license. Which seemed a bit odd. I didn’t do anything. I was just sitting there when the world exploded and pain enveloped me. And everything fell apart.
The day after, my entire body hurt. Two days after, I felt a little better in some places. Except the arm. The arm that may or may not be broken was feeling much worse. After waiting for hours, after they took multiple x-rays, the doctor finally told me it was too swollen to tell if it was fractured and that I would need a recheck in 10 to 15 days. This was the instruction I received when they released me around 8:30 from the emergency room, 4 hours after the wreck. May just be really screwed up, but with bones intact.
The thing I did learn at the hospital is that the first car hit me while going about 50 mph. The second car never even attempted to brake. They slammed into the back of my car going at least 60 mph. I couldn’t quite get my head around it.
Weirdly, the better my bruised and battered body felt, the more I crashed emotionally.
Three days after the wreck, I started crying. For no reason. Well, for no reasonable reason. Too late to cry over crashed car. Spilled milk. Whatever. Too late to cry, but I’m crying anyway. Sobbing, actually. Then numb again. Depressed. Unable to see the light of day. Remembering the feeling of being hit and thinking it was never going to stop.
Afraid to drive. Danger is everywhere.
Just like in life.
Sitting. Waiting for the next pileup. Knowing it’s coming sooner or later. And I can’t get out of the way. There’s no avoiding it.
Trying to pick up all the pieces, but they’re strewn all over the road. And there’s no putting them back together again.