By Angela

The Day Life Changed

It had been a productive morning. Angela felt certain her efforts would pay off soon. Five months ago, the school district announced the decision to terminate the program Angela had started and worked in almost 12 years. She suspected this would happen about a year ago when there had been talk about the district’s financial deficits.

Though the thought of losing her job and a steady paycheck was frightening, it was also very exciting. For the last two years, she talked about wanting to find a job where she could reach more people by doing more professional trainings, something she loved and was very good at doing. Now was her chance. She had sent letters out to the many organizations and professionals she knew, applied to jobs listed in the paper and on the internet, spoken to an editor who was interested in publishing her book idea, and was in the process of submitting more conference proposals on the subject to gain greater recognition. Something good was going to happen; it always did. Even when things seemed to be at their darkest, lowest point.

Now she focused her attention on her immediate needs. Cat litter. Getting into her Corolla, she drove off to Wal-Mart. As she turned onto Tylersville, traffic had come to a dead stop. She had forgotten how crowded the area could be in the early afternoon. Traffic was backed up at least 3 stop lights ahead. She casually looked up in her rear-view mirror.

Oh, My God!!! That truck seemed to be going awfully fast! Squinting her eyes, she tried to make out what lane it was in. “Please, God, don’t let it be my lane!!! Shit! It is in my lane, and it’s not slowing down.” The speed limit was 45 and it seemed to be doing every bit of that.

Angela quickly looked around to see there was anything she could do. Traffic was bumper to bumper with cars on either side of her and a car in front of her. There was no where to go and the truck was looming, just seconds away. Knowing that a crash was inevitable, she braced her hands on the steering wheel and stepped on the brake with all her strength. Even though she couldn’t stop the truck from hitting her, maybe if she pushed hard enough on the brake, she could keep from being shoved into the car in front of her.

Then came sound of crushing metal. Something inside her said it was bad. She got out of her car to assess the damage. Her body trembled and her mind raced. The whole back end of the car was smashed. It reminded her of an accordion. This was really bad. What if the insurance company decided to total her car? The car she bought two years ago! There probably wouldn’t be enough money to pay off the loan on the car. And how would she get another car without a job? How would she find and keep a job without a car?

Flooded by emotions and confused by the pain she felt in her right shoulder blade which spread like a sharp fiery sensation to her left shoulder blade, she approached the truck and yelled at the driver. “What the Hell were you thinking?”

***************************

“Do you want to go to the hospital?” the officer asked.

She stood in the middle of the road, surveying her crumpled car in disbelief. “No, I…I think I’m okay. I mean I’m walking and everything. My shoulder blade hurts. I don’t know why that hurts. My skin is on fire. I think I’m okay.”

“If you change your mind later on in the day, just call our office and let them know. We’ll add it to the report.”

She wasn’t sure how much time had passed. The tow trucks arrived and removed her car and the truck from the accident scene as she and the boy sat in the back of the police cruiser. A waive of compassion passed over her as she noticed how distraught he seemed to be. He was about the same age as her oldest daughter. “I’m sorry I yelled and cussed at you,” she said.

Her comment seemed to give him permission to say what was on his mind. “This is the worst day of my life. This is my second accident.” Guessing he was trying to figure out how to tell his parents, she offered, “Maybe you should look at this as a wake-up call to become a better driver. At least, no one was killed.”

© Angela Cramer, 2008

Clipart is the property of Jupiterimages made available through subscription:
© Jupiterimages Corporation, 2008 www.clipart.com

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