My true story.
There’s a heartbeat sounding in my ears.
“See mom, these are the Hot Wheels I want to keep, because they have moving parts.” The rest can go to the fundraiser.
Moving parts are always more interesting.
I hear the crashing sound of a demolition crew.
Wait…. That’s not right. I’m sitting at a stop light. At an intersection on the edge of town. Nothing but trees and cacti on my right. I turn to my left.
There’s an infinity in the space between moments. Did I leave my body?
If I left my body, it wasn’t for long. But I’m frozen.
The pickup driver’s hair is blonde.
My earliest childhood memory takes place in my father’s arms at an amusement park. My parents told me that I must have been about 18 months old when they took that trip.
I’m staring at a ride that looks something like a huge airplane propeller with rockets on each end. It’s painted red, white and blue, with one end red, the other blue and a band of white at the axis.
The propeller spins and there is a boy in the blue rocket. His shirt is yellow. He’s screaming his head off and I can see a look in his eyes.
A black pickup is hanging in mid-air. It twists and grows larger.
The driver’s hair is blonde. There is a look in his eyes.
My hand flies out in front of my son.
It’s Friday before Spring Break 2005. I’m going to see Grandma Dot and Grandpa Jack. I packed the antique dishes Grandma Dot’s great-uncle gave her, that she passed on to me. He was the US ambassador to Mexico once and he brought her back this set of white dishes. I want to ask her for more details to complete the story about these dishes. She always remembers the stories to everything. But when I tried to ask over the phone, she wasn’t sure which set I was talking about.
They were last to load into the trunk.
“Darling, let me keep the kids. I know you wonder if this might be the last time they’ll get to see the kids or not, but you’ll be stressed out trying to keep them away from the breakables at your grandparents. I’ll keep the kids. Just go, enjoy your time with your grandparents.”
My husband is wonderful. Though guilt worries me. What if this is the last time Grandpa is able to see his great-grandchildren? But John’s right – Grandma’s house is not child-proof by any means. I remove the car seats from the back seat, say goodbye to my children and leave them with John.
I always say prayers in the car when I go on a trip.
It’s Friday before spring break and Interstate 35 is filled with college students, excited for the break. Mid-terms are over and I see kids hanging out of cars at 65 miles an hour whooping up the day.
It’s dangerous. But I also remember college mid-terms and how delirious they make you feel. Stress that only the young can take. Why do we do that to them?
At mile marker 299: The highway suddenly goes from three lanes to two, with no warning.
Some kids cut off a yellow moving truck; they’re trying to merge and going too fast. The yellow truck practically stands on its brakes and every car around it suddenly fishes right or left to avoid collision. There is a full shoulder on the left which only lasts for about one mile. The young man in front of me and I quickly and successfully move to that left shoulder and safely get by.
Suddenly, there’s a force from behind me that is so great.
Can sounds blind you?
I look to my rear-view and see the demolition hitch. It’s coming through my back window towards my head. The white Ford F-350 doesn’t have a grill on the front. There’s something else attached. It looks like the front of a snow-plow.
The truck is so much higher than my silver Altima, that it never hits my bumper. Unbounded, it plows through my back window and seat. The trunk of my car is center-punched down the middle. Slammed, I collide into the car ahead of me.
For an instant, everything is black.
My hood blows. Glass sprays like snow. My shoulder hurts like hell. My air-bag never deployed.
Just two weeks before this, I saw a little silver car smashed between the highway median wall and a semi truck on the way to the kids’ school. I came home and told my husband, “I don’t want to drive a little silver car anymore.”
I guess I got my wish.
I start shaking uncontrollably and burst into tears. I am going numb.
It’s just like a movie stunt, except without exciting music, and without a drumbeat. Just my heart, ringing in my ears.
The little black truck is hanging high in the air – twisting, flying towards us.
I am frozen. Caught between stories in time.
My stories. My traumas. My time-warp. The words ring through me, “I just got a new home and now my child and I are going to die.”
And those aren’t spoken words. There is no “hearing” of them. They impress on the very soul, like a stamp. Like a vice. Punching through the heart and being.
My hand flies out in front of my son. The truck slams to the ground on its nose and bounces, flipping towards us.
The driver’s hair is blonde. I’m boxed in. I can’t back up.
There’s nowhere to go. I am frozen.
It is silent.