Saturday, March 12, 2005


I couldn't figure out why I was wet. Wet made no sense, but at that moment, nothing else did either. As I began to process what was happening, for a second, I feared it was blood.

No - it was too cold for that. A quick survey told me it was the remains of my Diet Pepsi, flung throughout the passenger compartment, soaking me, my dashboard, my floors, and Darcy.

Jesus. Was Darcy okay? I looked over and there she sat, looking a lot calmer than I felt. She said she was okay, but her car door was buckled in; pushed by the front end of the jeep staring into the passenger side window.

I climbed out of the car, and the other driver was there - apologetic and okay. He ran the red light. He felt awful; I could read it in his face, see it in how he carried himself. I was more worried about injuries. Darcy was hurting; she sat alone in the backseat, keeping warm and not moving. No; she didn't need an ambulance, but she was sore and aching.

Information exchanged. Numbers. Digits. Information. Insurance companies called. Police reports filled out.

I held it together until we made it to her apartment; then I lost it. Seeing someone I care about hurt is like punching me in the stomach; I can't breathe. I can't think straight. I can't talk. While there was something to do - paperwork to fill out, stories to tell, damage to assess, I can handle it calmly and rationally. Afterwards, when the crisis has passed, that's when the panic sets in along with the fear and terror. My car can be fixed or replaced, if necessary. She can't be, and that's something I never want to face.

Later, I sat in the ER waiting room. Hospitals and casinos are similar in one respect - they're their own worlds; they never close; there are always people present, no matter what the time of day or night. But hospitals are the opposite of casinos - instead of garish colors, blinking lights and laughter, you get bland but relaxing paint, calm lighting and solemn silence. But the hell of it is that they're not all that soothing. You're there because someone you love is broken, and you pray to God that he or she can be fixed. How can you relax when all you can see when your eyes close is a jeep barrelling at you with no time to react? How can you relax when your hands won't stop shaking because you haven't eaten in ages but you can't eat a thing?

Families gather, waiting for words about their grandmother (I always wonder why you need to bring the whole clan along to the ER - wouldn't you be more comfortable sending one or two relatives and leaving the kids at home?), friends bring in their friend suffering from too much partying (apparently this was the seoond time she'd been in for a little stomach pumping; and hey, if you can't give yourself a little case of alcohol poisoning on amateur weekend, when can you?). And there we sit, joined in tension, hoping to hear that our loved ones are okay.

Darcy finally walked out of the back; tired and sore but okay. I took her home and made sure she was comfortable.

Tomorrow, I get to deal with more insurance agents, paperwork and probably rental cars. But I can live with that. Darcy is okay; maybe a little bruised and sore, but otherwise okay. Me? I'm fine; a little shaken up and scared, but relieved.

Now I'm sitting here, Duke Ellington helping to soothe me; I'm prepared for bed, but I still see the jeep flying in at us. You go through a lot of meaningless routines every day, worry about many, many trivial problems. Sometimes it takes a cold splash of reality to make you see that perhaps you should treasure these routines and appreciate the pointless problems.

Perhaps there's something to be said for dull routine.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Dang, Bri. That's scary.
I'm glad everyone is okay.