While running an errand today that took us across town on I-10, my parent’s van blew a tire. The thing you’re never supposed to do when a blow out happens is hit the brakes. It was maybe about 2-3 seconds in that I realized that this was my initial reaction. I pulled my foot off the brake and gas and just tried as best as I could to control the already uncontrollable vehicle. We fishtailed over a lane and as the shoulder approached the van finally gave in to the violent forces pushing us into a spin. One hundred and eighty degrees and I watched as the front passenger side of the car bounced off the median. I think at this point myself, my sister and my brother are all yelling, or maybe they are and I’m all of a sudden miles away and watching through a telescope. A split second later and the back passenger side of the van hits the median, this sets off the air bags. Somehow this second impact sends us back forward facing on the freeway. I imagine us as some kind of toy at the mercy of one of those giant children from the Twilight Zone. We’re forward facing and the car isn’t moving anymore and I don’t think we hit anything else and hey look at that this Mazda has side impact air bags. Just utter quiet until the haze in the air isn’t a foggy mind. We rush to get out afraid of smoke turning into fire. The vehicle is a wreck in the farthest lane of I-10 just ahead of one of the busiest exits in El Paso leading to the airport. We are all walking, still stunned, everyone checks in screaming to let the others know we’re alright. A kind stranger stops to call 911 for us. I am sick feeling. My head is guilt and shock at the fact that it could’ve all gone so much worse. Somehow the time between the accident and the arrival of the authorities brings with it some rush of adrenaline that allows me to clearly explain and piece together what happened. They move the van out onto the shoulder for me. I can’t stomach getting behind the wheel of anything anytime soon.
Life lately seems to be dissatisfied with how complacent I am towards its strange and senseless happenings. This makes life jealous. Life screams and kicks to remind me that no matter how accustomed I may be to the bizarre and obtuse it can always grow more so.
Hours later my siblings and I are silly and goofy and make any and every joke we can think of. We laugh so easily all because earlier today 15 seconds could’ve completely changed all our lives. We con our dad into buying us so much pizza and attribute it to our shock. It feels so good to laugh after the very quiet hour immediately after the accident and the second hour spend sunburnt on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck. It feels so good to laugh because if we don’t now we can’t take advantage of the fact that laughing together is something that can be so easily take away from us.
I kept it together after the accident. Stunned but not broken. When my dad arrived at the scene I nearly lose it when he tells me that it’s okay, that what is important is that we’re safe. Once again he is there to be strong and help us feel safe when we most need it. I work on my breathing and regain composure. When we get home I take a moment to myself and let a little bit go. A few tears and one sob, maybe a dry heave. In the past few hours today, in the past few days this week and in the last few weeks this month and all the recent months this year and both these years I have been waiting to break. It happens here and there in snippets and bits and bobs and sobs. Part of my wants to feel it break. Part of me wants to stop holding up and holding in the heavy, but most of me is afraid of not being able to pull back together afterwards.
I didn’t die today and I didn’t die in Norman, Oklahoma and my best and my worst days are ahead. I crashed a car earlier and walked away. I laugh and feel and cry and can focus on the pulse of my blood running through my body and redirect it from my head to my hands. I can move the life inside me. I can move the life inside me. I can move the life inside me.