I was in a car accident tonight. I am fine. A little sore, but fine, other than an ache in my lower back. I was alone, driving on a busy freeway. I was traveling about 50 mph and suddenly after rounding a bend the lane in front of me was stopped. I had 2 seconds in which to realize that I had to stop. NOW. I braked. My car bounced and stopped within an inch of the car ahead of me. In my rear view mirror, I saw the cars rounding the same bend behind me, and knew with a certainty that they would not be able to stop. BANG! Then BANG!
Two cars behind me, suddenly all of us attached. Bumper to Bumper to Bumper. Cars were flying by. The cars that had suddenly caused the abrupt halt to traffic were gone. Vanished into the steady stream of cars headed south. I was able to drive my car over to the median. And the other two cars followed after several minutes of trying to negotiate an opening between cars to get across. We got out. The couple whose car hit me directly did not have a cell phone. I let them use mine to negotiate towing and insurance. Their car was not drivable. The car behind them was possibly drivable. I was lucky. I was able to drive away.
It's beginning to hit me. The adrenaline rush gone. Looking at the rear panel torn away near the bumper, the rear hatch door bent in, the side panel distorted by the gas cap. And now...sitting here, looking at the pictures of my children on my desk, my hands are shaking. My cell phone reeks of the woman's sickly perfume.
A few months ago, my sister was in a near fatal car accident. She swears by the cross she had on her dashboard. Back in May, when I saw her at my mom's 70th birthday celebration, she gave me a small bag of candies tied with a cross from her daughters' baptism. It is a simple cross with delicate lines. I decided to hang it from my rear view mirror a few weeks ago. It has brought me comfort. And tonight, well...tonight...I am swearing by it, too.