Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Would've Could've Might've

The girl on the bike was just a tiny slip of a thing, perhaps 13, perhaps 17, no older, no younger, I don't imagine. She had her pretty brunette hair pulled back in a pony tail this morning, and I am deeply, deeply grateful that I did not crush her with my car this morning.

I was only 5 minutes into my daily commute, and hence still within the confines of cute little town where I live, on my way to big city downtown where I work*. I was almost to the library, and the town was decorated for the 4th with bunting and flags, and I was looking at the decorations and feeling happy, feeling almost blissful at how adorable it all looked, and thinking that I needed to fish into my purse to find my phone to call my mother to ask what time she wanted us for dinner this evening, and I was pulling through the light just west of the library and town square and thinking about reaching for my purse to find my phone, when, out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of yellow t-shirt, and then, there she was, THERE SHE WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY CAR and brakes slammed-tires swerved-horns honked and my car stopped (thank you God thank you very very very much my car stopped) just inches from her and the fear on her face as her bike hit the curb and she fell over, she fell over but SHE WAS NOT CRUSHED (thank you God she was not crushed), and my hands shook as I tried to find the button to roll the window down, to speak to her as she picked up her bike to walk it over the curb across the grass to the sidewalk, and she was crying and I was shaking and I said, "Are you okay?? Are you okay?" and she cried "Yes, I'm fine, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have turned" and I realized that traffic was backing up behind me and pulled forward and drove away.

The man who had been directly behind me pulled up next to me at the next light. He was looking at me, and I was looking at him, and my fingers still shook as I rolled my window down, and he did the same.

"Did I run that light?" I asked, voice shaky.

"No," he said. "It was green, it had been green for a while, it was still green. I don't know where she came from. I don't know which one of you looks more terrified right now...but, it was green. Are you okay to drive?"

And I nodded my head and probably looked very much like I WASN'T okay to drive, but, the light turned and I pulled onto the highway entrance ramp anyway, and my fingers, really, my fingers didn't stop shaking until I sat down at my desk.

And I cannot help but dwell on what might have happened, what could have happened, had I been reaching for my bag, had I been dialing my phone, had I been distracted further from the road. It would have been cold comfort to me, to know I was in the right, to know the light was green, if I had crushed her beneath my tires.


*by which I mean, big city for the part of the country where I live - I mean, clearly, not big city like Chicago or New York or anything


Blogger jenn said...

oh my. makes you want to hug your kids and lecture them of street rules and safety till they are 20!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger maxhelcal said...

I know exactly how you feel. (I almost killed someone once...not my fault either I must add ;-) That is the scariest thing and so many thoughts go rushing through your head. Thank goodness that young girl is okay...and you too. Life is so fragile and in an instant your world can turn upside down. Thank goodness for quick reflexes.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007 1:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

Oh that is so scary and Thank God you were able to stop in time.

And can I say... that is totally why I'm fine with those no cellphone while driving rules. I know there's hundreds of other ways to be distracted (like for instance, my 4 kids!) but it seems like cell phones add a whole new level of distraction.

Regardless, I hope you get the images of what *could* have happened out of your head and are able to enjoy the simple fun of the 4th of July tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 1:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicki said...

Oh my gosh, that sends chills down my spine for both of you. It only takes an instant. Who knows what the instant will be or when it will occur. Life is so fragile. I'm so glad you are both recovering.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 4:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mia's Mommy said...

That is so scary. I'm glad she and you were okay. I saw a cyclist get hit by a Land Rover turning into a parking lot one time. It wasn't pretty to say the least. I'm SOOOOO glad you're okay!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 9:17:00 PM  
Blogger Emanual said...

Tears here. Wow. Those moments are so scary.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Anne K. said...

Oh, oh, oh. What a heart-stopping moment, and I think we'll all get goosebumps thinking about it for a long time. You're wonderful for sharing. Both you and the girl are feeling lucky now, I'm sure - you've reminded all of us to be on our guard. Look how many other lives you may have saved today, just with this story!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007 7:57:00 AM  
Blogger Nicole - Raising Animals said...

Oh how scary LM!! I'm SSSOOO glad everyone is ok!!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007 1:43:00 PM  
Blogger KelleyO said...

Holy Crap! How incredibiley scary! I'm so glad things turned out the way they did.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007 8:04:00 PM  

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