How To Find What You Came Here For

Welcome to the worlds that populate my brain!
The short stories you find here are the product
of a vastly overactive imagination
powered by coffee and M&Ms.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Get The Number Of That Truck, Please?

I can't remember what we were talking about.

We'd just dropped our youngest son off at the elementary school, and we were waiting to turn left to head up the road to the middle school to drop off our oldest son.  Dan and I were both working at the high school, so we might have been talking about work.  Maybe.  I can't remember.

My turn signal was on, and I was waiting patiently for a space in oncoming traffic so I could turn.  The road we were on is a busy two-lane highway, but we were half a block from the school so we were still in the school zone.  The route we were taking is the same one lots of parents had taken and were planning to was familiar.

I chatted with my husband, sitting in his usual spot--the passenger seat.  Our oldest was quiet in the back seat right behind Dan, he might have been dozing.  He did that in the mornings once he became a teenager.  He might have been.  I can't remember.

I am a safe driver.  I maintain a constant vigilance, fully aware of the idiocy of my fellow drivers.  My driving record was perfect; the only accident I'd ever had involved accidentally backing into a car less than a month after I'd gotten my driver's license nearly two decades earlier.

I saw a gap ahead, so I took my foot off the brake.  Our Taurus was heavy, I wasn't worried about rolling.  We'd just paid it off a couple of months before; it was the first car we'd owned that was almost new when we bought it.  It was my dream car.

My round of mirror checks, one of several while we waited to turn, took me to the rear view mirror.  I might have seen the pick-up truck.  I think I did.  I can't remember.

The volunteer fireman waiting at the stop sign at the same intersection did.  Experience had him reaching for his cell phone and dialing those three little numbers.  By the time he finished dialing, it was over.

I didn't have time to warn my husband.  I didn't have time to reach for my son.  I had time to tighten my hands on the steering wheel and turn it to the front yard of the house on my right and pray I could keep us out of oncoming traffic.

I can't remember what we were talking about.

I can remember hearing the briefest squeal of panicked brakes...too brief.  I can remember hearing a noise so loud, it seemed like the world was ending.  I can remember saying a thousand wordless prayers in the brief gap between.

Everything stopped moving a fraction of a second later.  Time stopped, shock chased every sound away.  I looked at my husband, who looked back at me without speaking.  I spun to check on our son, sitting dazed in the back seat and covered in chunks of safety glass.

Sound rushed back, and I popped out of the car and onto the front yard.  The little Toyota pick-up truck, raised up on a lift kit for mudding, sat dead center in the intersection.  Its knobby front wheels tilted out drunkenly on a snapped axel, dropping the front end so that it looked like a puppy ready to play.  The teenager who'd been driving opened the door, still talking into his cell phone.

If the truck hadn't fishtailed when the kid had slammed on his brakes, his high speed and lack of bumper would have carried it up and over the trunk...and into the cabin of our car.  Instead, he'd soared up and over the corner, leaving paint from his truck on the roof along the driver's side.

PhotobucketWe lost the car.  We could have lost a lot more.  I thought every moment of that crash would be imprinted on my brain forever.
But now...

I can't remember what we were talking about.

This prompt is a memoir piece in response to a flash prompt from Write On Edge, to write about a memory the word CRASH evokes in ten minutes or less.  This memory is never far from my mind, even though it happened six years ago.  How about you?  What event from your past did you think would be permanently engraved on your brain...but now is fading?

Thanks for stopping by, and please tell me what you think in the comments!