I’m driving along, heading to work, and a car lurches forward in anticipation of a hole in traffic that isn’t there. I could swerve over and graze the car to my right, but I don’t react fast enough. Instead, I am struck- the front end of their car plowing with alarming speed and force into my driver’s side door. The air bag comes out, nearly suffocating me. I hit my head on the bar beside my window and pass out.
When I wake up, my ears are ringing and it’s like rising from a fog. It takes me a minute to remember where I am, to struggle free from the seat belt, to realize that there is blood pooling on the seat between my legs. I panic, stumbling from the car, trying to call out for help. But my voice isn’t working, like the volume isn’t on. I seem to hear someone say “Call 911!”
I’m curled on the sidewalk, sobbing at the top of my lungs in between violent gasps, while an EMT asks me what my name is for the umpteenth time. Someone has the bright idea of grabbing my phone and calling the first contact on my list. “Sir, your wife has just been in a serious car accident…”
– – –
The doctor comes in and tells me what I already know. She’s gone… My husband rubs my back because he doesn’t know what else to do with his hands, waiting for me to break down. But I’ve already spent all the tears I can spare today.
– – –
A year later we sit on the couch watching some ridiculous lifetime show, not speaking, not touching. I want to tell him I still love him, that I miss her so much, that I want to try again. But I can’t. I’ve been on mute for too long now.
I’m driving along, heading to work, and a car inches forward, anticipating a hole in traffic that isn’t there. I stare it down as a pass, all the while holding my breath. Don’t try it, don’t try it, don’t try it.