I lost many little parts of myself this evening.

8 02 2010

When I was sitting in the back of the Blue Bomber, my head leaning against the seat, tears slowly streaming down my cheeks, my entire body shaking uncontrollably, I started mentally formulating this blog.  I didn’t know if I’d actually write it.  I just knew that if I could think about writing it, I could be semi-distracted from the flashing lights and shattered glass of the intersection of Washington and College.

Amanda can tell you.  I’m awful at directions.  Like I should be clinically diagnosed as directionally challenged.  I have to Google map and street view the entire trip before I venture downtown; that only sometimes helps.  I usually still average about three parking lot turnarounds.

I guess I should just get to the meat of this.  I already want to leave this post.

I was driving from the Something Arts Center where John’s writing workshop was held to my rehearsal.  It was only about 10 minutes distance, but I had never driven from that direction.  I missed the left turn my iPhone directions had told me to take so I was looking ahead for the next left I could take.  I got to this intersection that was partially covered by a bridge so that each lane was separation by concrete columns.  I had been following a car ahead of me that was also turning left.  I don’t remember the light ever changing.  But it had to’ve, because the next this I see out of the corner of my eye are two SUVs gunning through the intersection.  I smash on my breaks, but it’s too late and in that split second I know it’s too late.

It all happens to fast, but then at the same time you feel hyper aware of every little detail.  As I plowed into the driver’s door of the white SUV, the two airbags flew out.  I’ve always been afraid of those things because since I was little I always remember my parents telling me how they had killed people.  But on the contrary, I don’t remember them hurting.  I just remember them doing their job, sort of just cushioning my chest like a pool floaty.  Then I see the windshield.  It’s a wonder it didn’t cave in because hairline cracks crisscrossed all over.  And then there was this white powdery dust puffing into my face and reeking something awful.  Like I had been shoved inside a latex glove.

I don’t remember if I said anything.  If I cursed.  Maybe I did.  Or maybe I said something like “this did not just happen.”  There was a beat.  And then my shaking hands were dialing 911.  Some kind man came to my window and asked me if I was alright.  I was losing composure at this point.  911 had me on hold.  On ____ing hold.  All the operators were busy.  But as soon as I heard that recording someone picked up and I just started blubbering where I was and what happened.  And then I called Mom.  She sounded so calm when she picked up.  Like she thought it was just another ordinary day.  And bulldozed over her cheerful greeting, “Mom, I’ve been at a really big wreck.  I’m at the intersection of College and Washington.”  And like that she was on her way.

I’m crying now.  I’m crying because I remember the ambulance pulling up and them having to pry open my door.  I remember not ever being able to talk through my sobs to the paramedic who asked if anything was hurt and if I needed to go to the hospital.  He or someone, maybe a police officer, told me to roll down my window to let the airbag dust out, which I hadn’t even realized was choking me to coughing fits between teary convulsions.  I’m crying when I screamed if whoever was in the other car was okay.  And they said her leg was hurt.  And I was so scared.  I hurt someone.  I cried when she came limping out of her car.  I had expected some suburban housewife and out hobbled a middle-aged African American woman.  And all I could do was return her blank gaze, except mine was with a lot more noise and salt.

I waited for someone to cart me off.  To yell and scream at me.  But no one would.  So I took care of that job myself.  My head was a battleground.  I died.  I could have killed that woman.  Why couldn’t I remember what color the light had been?  Why was I thinking that she was faking her leg being hurt?  Was it because I wanted to protect myself?  Because I didn’t want to be the one in the wrong?

The day had turned so quickly.  I was leaving the glow of a post-John session, where he’d called me out and I’d surprisingly written.  And I was going to rehearsal and I felt decent with my lines.  And then in an instant.

I lost the Blue Bomber.  My father’s baby.  My baby.  The car I learned to drive in.  The car I complained and griped about.  The car Shawna, and Sanne, and Amanda, and James sat in.  It’s gone.  And it didn’t just take itself away.  It took a big chunk of my independence.  I don’t know how I’m going to get around anymore.  School, rehearsals, work.  Mom even suggested that my play is up in the air if I can’t get a ride downtown.

I’ve lost my confidence too.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to trust myself for a long time behind the wheel.  And what kills me the most is my road trip with Shawna–the trip I’ve been planning for a year that has just been coming to fruition–seems completely off.  Gone like that.  Not just because I don’t know if Dad would trust me, but I don’t know if I want to.  If that happened in another state and I hurt Shawna– I’m not going to think of that.  Because “ifs” are unhealthy.

There are too many things I should be happy for.  No one is dead.  There is blood.  I only have a scraped foot and bruised limbs.  Amanda was not in the car with me.  I had my license with me.  Mom came right away.  God was looking out for me.  Really.  In all the panic, I felt him.  And he’s here now too.

Hopefully writing this will stop the instant-replay that enjoys popping up in my head.  After I showered to get the dust and glass off, I just scrunched into a little ball on the floor mat.  I keep getting these waves of tears.  I feel like I can control it now.

I’ve also rethought how I’ve looked at crashes.  I’ve never considered that there is an actual story behind them.  Like my story.  And her story.  This has put a face to it.  I don’t know how to end this.  I’m drowning myself in homework to move forward.

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12 responses

9 02 2010
Anne

Good luck Marion. Thinking of you and hoping everything works out! Really glad to hear you and the other lady are okay.

9 02 2010
Claire

I’m glad you’re physically okay.
And I’m glad she’s okay.
Take care.

9 02 2010
Alyson

And I thought my day was terrible.
I can’t even imagine. Please, please get better soon. And I mean mentally.
Love and everything else you need.

9 02 2010
Mia

Oh, Marion! I’m so, so sorry this happened to you. I’m glad you’re okay, and you just have to realize that it’s happened. It’s over. It can’t be changed, so try not to think about it. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s the only thing you can do. And, with time, you’ll get your confidence back, don’t worry about that part. There’s bound to be a silver lining to this. Just keep moving forward, and I’m sure you’ll find it.
Love, and God bless.

9 02 2010
iampocketable

I wish I could give you a hug through the internet. 😦

I hope you feel better soon.

9 02 2010
Austin

I have been in the exact same situation, which I will write to you about when it isn’t 3 in the morning. But, you should know, you’ll be a much safer driver now, you aren’t the only one who forgets whether the light was green or who’s fault it was. You survived, they survived. On the side of lost freedom, you gain responsibility, you gain the responsibility of finding and maintaining your own car and insurance, as well as understanding that you can’t change anything.

You will ache like hell.
You will cry some more, the terror will persist, and your trust in yourself won’t come back for awhile.

But you will be fine, and life will go on.

You’ll make it to the “after”

9 02 2010
Tetsubo

I’ve lived through this myself Dear. I know it will sound hollow, but you will get your confidence back. You are alive and that means that you can heal. Take the time you need. Good luck.

9 02 2010
scarf1991

I know how you feel Marion, I had my first car crash last year and I felt like such an idiot and the loss of independance too hurt.

I’m really happy to hear that all involved were ok, like you said it’s great that no-one died and that things worked out as best they could do in that kind of situation. Just got to deal with it as best you can in the future eh?

You will definitely be fine behind the wheel of a car again I promise you, driving is one of those things where if you get out there even if it’s just driving round a car park or up/down a quiet road will help you to get used to feeling like a capable driver and when you’re ready you can get back to normal.

Here’s to you feeling better soon!
*hugs*
(horrendousblah from YouTube)

9 02 2010
Robyn

Marion,
I know you’re probably feeling awful right now, and I don’t know if this is entirely appropriate, but you wrote that all very well. You wrote what happened so well that I’m tearing up for you, your situation, your crash. You wrote about something terrible but managed to make it beautiful (in a literary sense).
I don’t want to say anything cliche like “accidents happen,” because that never helps when you’re the one its happened to, but I hope you feel better soon.

9 02 2010
Austin

I was coming back from my dad’s house. I had made the mistake of staying up till 5 in the morning when I had to work the next day at noon. I slept till about 10:30 and was in a hurry to drive the 30 minutes back to my house, shower, then drive the 30 minutes to work. I was driving the same route I always take, I remember passing under a street light, and thinking how tired I was. The next thing I know, I’m 500 ft ahead of the last place I remember and the intersection is 15 ft away. I could have sworn the light was green. But it wasn’t. The slow motion persists to this day with my memory of the moment. I started to hit my brakes but was too late, I was a split second away from careening right into a dodge dakota that was a good three times the size of my car.

We collided, I hit him with enough force to completely spin his car around. The airbag exploded, spraying that latex dust you mentioned every where. That smell is potent. It’s singular, it is associated with only one thing, the crash. I imagine that it’s as singular a smell as death, and my moms cooking.

I got out of my car and I kept repeating “What happened?” “What’s going on?” “This can’t be happening.” The man in the other car got out and informed that I had hit him, with my car, and that it was happening.

The rest was pretty standard.

I went home and layed in my bed. The next day the whiplash set in, and I was only further reminded what it felt like every moment I was in pain.

Everything turned out okay, my car was totalled, and I had to buy a new car instead of my dream drumset with my savings.

Ironically, the man was on the way to my work to buy some electronics.

Small world.

I hope you don’t beat yourself up too much, and keep in mind everything will be fine.

Smile.

11 02 2010
thebrookereview

I’m glad your not seriously injured and I hope that you don’t beat yourself too much. Accidents happen. Life happens. You can’t go back now but you can move ahead and become a more cautious driver (someone else said that too but it really is true).

15 03 2010
nicoleeism

Marion-
Some like this happed to me in early December. I’m seventeen. A car ran into my car. The car I learned to drive in. This was one of the worst things that happed to me. This post totally mirrored the feelings I had after my crash. I hope your okay, and I promise everything will get better, I promise!

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