Friday, September 19, 2008

Crashed into me.


When I was asked to describe the accident, I did so in two sentences. If I'd had had more time to process all that'd gone on, though, maybe it would have gone more like this:

"I hear the tires trying to stop while mine haven’t a problem at all. There is screeching. I see the motorcycle and both hear and see its driver yelling all during his approach. I forget his words. He is not wearing a helmet, but he owns an impressive beard … he looks like a Hell’s Angel. He likely is. All at once, there is broken glass in my lap like crushed ice and the passenger (Marc) calls out to God a few times, following it with screams like a woman’s. His seatbelt is off and he’s trying to get away from a dented in door, contemplating an escape into the back seat that he never fully executes. The Angel has catapulted to the rooftop … there’s his leg and hand falling over the edge, the new dent above our heads not unlike the underside of a hammock. Some blood drops like sweaty rain on my window. He thinks he broke his wrist, he is saying, after mimicking Marc’s apology. It’s the only time he says anything to us. There are small shards of glass in Marc’s hair … I see them catching sunlight, both dangerous and beautiful. We don’t know whether to get out or stay here. We spend entire years inside the moments that follow.

"I am calm. Cool like the cucumber. I choose to look at it all and dial 911 and stumble through an address. This is not my city. This is not my car. Part of me wants to vomit later and I even think of money, but now? I want to tell him—the Angel—I didn’t mean it. That I honestly thought I could stop at the red and then turn right. It’s what I did. The words never come. I am as helpless as I am mute. Nobody cares to look in our direction. We may as well be unwitting bystanders. Instead, he is surrounded and bandaged and removed on a stretcher. I expect him to yell out some obscenities to close this scene, but he is quiet. His bike is crushed above a puddle. It is towed away. He leaves a bungee cord on our roof that the policeman removes, almost as an afterthought.

"Only minutes before, we’d talked about widows who had lost husbands to motorcycle accidents and how we’d never drive them ourselves. Scooters maybe, but never motorcycles. We are told by all who come in contact with us that this could have gone much worse, that we were lucky. I don’t feel that way. I feel responsible for this mishap. I feel like a horrible failure. And I think of the man with the wrapped-up wrist, how he resembled some kind of half-dressed mummy; I wonder how he is tonight. I wonder how long it will be before he’s able to ride again.

"It makes me want to shed tears again, but that already happened on the second plane ride home. In the dark and on the way back from Atlanta, my right eye leaked and leaked and leaked, like it’d never run out.

"On second thought, no more tears ... once is more than enough."

10 comments:

Nicole said...

I wish I could give you a hug right now. Dainon, this was an accident. Accidents happen to all of us. You did not intend harm on anybody. I admire your soft heart and concern for those that were involved. Discouragement is an adversarial tool to keep you from doing the good you are so capable of doing. Love you, brother.

Moonbird said...

Dainon...

Kilee said...

I'm so sorry that happened Dain. Accidents happen....that is why it is called just that, an accident. Don't blame yourself, I too admire you for your soft heartedness. Love you..

tim and brandi said...

In all reality, you are lucky that it didn't turn out worse. My nephew was in a terrible accident when he was 16. It was a head-on crash with a motorcycle driven by a man and his wife and my nephew driving a truck towing a horse trailer (yes, with a horse in it). The only one to survive was my nephew. They ruled it an accident and no one knows who crossed the median, but yeah, that's something he has to live with for the rest of his life. I'm not trying to invalidate the seriousness of what you've gone through (and are still going through), I just want you to somehow see the bright side. You and the motorcycle guy are so, so lucky.

~b

Dainon. said...

I'm alright ... just processing it all, you know? There was too much in my head not to let some go via the written word. And, yes, I do feel lucky. More than that, even, I feel blessed. It definitely could have been worse than it was.

jess said...

i hope you're doing o.k.

Ninny Beth said...

I feel this. I once hit a bicyclist. a teenager. I couldn't even write about it really really. I made jokes to ease the pain of what it felt like to be so involved, so closely involved in the delicate space of another human life. Write it out.

Sherpa said...

Oh, hope you're doing okay.

melray1134 said...

Thanks for sharing.

Heidi Brunner said...

Lo siento mi amigo....
Bless the leaky eyes and the expressions of humanity.
At least you've got an amazing gift of gab to work through the mess we all end up with in our head.