I used my horn this morning. I had to blast it, palm flattened in panic. It was the only way to prevent a large blue truck from impelling me off the road like a scene from some spy movie.
My husband has no problem laying on the horn. I wish I were more like him. I wish I didn't hesitate in so many things.
Because I see a dozen wrecks every day. I gasp. I take deep shuddering breaths that rake my ribs, reminding me of the injuries from my own accident.
The accidents happen only in my mind's eye; by some miracle they don't transpire in reality. This doesn't change the fact that drivers routinely take ridiculous chances.
I know I'm more skittish since our accident. Driving at night I am tense the whole way to my destination. During the day I am distrustful of other drivers, my eyes darting back and forth. I speed up; I go too slow - always in an attempt to avoid a collision. My husband has warned me I'm going to cause one by being overly defensive.
I've had two close ones since that bad day in September. Once a driver whipped out of nowhere in front of me in a parking lot, inches were all that left before the grind of auto on auto. I pulled into a parking space; my legs trembled.
"What happened? What happened?" I asked my son. "Did you see where he came from?"
I had looked, honestly. Really.
And then this morning on the way to school as I cried out to that big intimidating truck that tried to zip across two lanes from the merge lane, "Dear God, don't hit me! Don't hit me..." and the blare of horn. He was crossing my line, and I was going into the shoulder when he righted himself. The trembling didn't subside until I'd sat a while in the parking lot of my daughter's preschool.
It's a strange side effect of the car wreck that I'm now terrified of large trucks. I can picture one t-boning us, the grill impacting my window at eye level, looking annihilation in the face. Monstrous trucks with high cabs and enormous wheels are popular in this country; they're everywhere, and I don't see one without contemplating the damage they could do to smaller, lower vehicles. It terrifies me.
Someone could ask me why I'm not scared of motorcycles? I'm not. I confess the noise of them does bring flashbacks sometimes, but usually when I see motorcycles I just feel very sad. I mourn the death of the man who hit me in late September, still troubled by the circumstances. And when I see a rider that has no helmet, I steam over the foolishness. I read a November interview with a police officer in which he stated that when head meets pavement, pavement wins - every single time. Please wear helmets, for the love of yourself. Increase your odds.
Yes, I'm a big baby, but I suppose it's natural to contemplate your mortality after a close call. And shall I share one of my biggest new worries? I worry that if something suddenly happens to me, my kids will read this blog as a way to remain connected to their mother and that they will think I had favorites, speculate that I did not love them equally. That thought is truly terrifying, the idea that my kids would be saddled forever with an impression of my love based on the whim of my words, the chance of my topic choices, the coincidence that I mentioned one of my children by name more than another.
So I'll say it, punching out the words in desperate sincerity: I love my children equally. I adore them. I have no favorites.