“You hit my car!” Hollered from middle of the street. Red Corolla’s wheels squealed. Turned left and disappeared. Shit.
Day started at 5AM, taking Dad to visit Mom in the hospital. You know, right before taking him to be admitted for surgery. Could say ‘one of those days’ but who in hell has a day like this?
Two hours for the surgery. That’s what the doc said. Except two hours passed. Then three. Five. Five and a half. Doc finally came out. Relieved. His small grin. Said there was no smiling but ‘we got the job done’. Gonna be a tricky recovery. Crap. He’s 83. Tricky means a lot of things.
At 3:30PM stomach said one last time, and ‘I’m not going to tell you again’, I hadn’t eaten all day. Surgery over. Husband and son arrived. Husband helped, son led me to food. Drove few minutes. Downtown.
I parked. Then red Corolla. Scraped down the side of my car as he was backing out. Parking crooked. Driving crooked. Thinking crooked. Then he sped away. Damn.
“You hit my car!” What did I have to lose? Crazy lady in middle of the street. Friendly owner of diner where we parked saw mess and called police. Owner calling police, son calling insurance. Crooked man walks into diner. Didn’t expect him at the party. Where was red Corolla? Well, some of it on my car but where's the rest? Guess he thought better about bein' a hit n run driver.
He scrambled. A lot. I think it’s called excuses. ‘Didn’t see. Didn’t know. Didn’t feel. Then I heard you yell’. Son handled him. Ah, son. A peach.
Crooked driver heard me say to insurance, ‘my car’s been hit, what do I do next’ and he said, ‘didn’t hit you; scraped you’. Really? You’re kind of an ass and you want to parse words? Really? You had to decide whether to be responsible but I should be careful with words. Really? Do I have it right?
Man apologized. “I take full responsibility.” Hmmm. Scramble on outside is scrimmage on inside, eh? Who is this guy? Son said, “Man, sportin’ some kinda bed head. Got some crazy hair goin’.” Didn’t notice but fairly metaphorical.
He apologized a few more times. Wanted to say okay. Wanted to accept. Be gracious. Say ‘thanks’. Say, ‘really it’s a car, it can be fixed’. I didn’t, I couldn’t. Squinted at him. Who are you? Not proud to be meet ass with ass. Felt pissed. Anxious. Tired. Sad. Frustrated. Confused.
Sat with grilled cheese sandwich on wheat, crooked driver gone. Only son and me. Patrons chattering. Owner harrumphing on my behalf. Sweet.
Thought back on whole deal.
I roared. “You hit my car!” Kinda girl who can’t scream in her dreams. Wonder if I need help in real life, what will I do. Stand frozen waiting for calamity? You hit my car! Had stage in middle of the road. People drinking coffee, eating ice cream on sidewalk, walking by, all knew. “Hey, have you heard? He hit her car.” What was that? What'd you say? It came from me?
Then I knew. Long, hard day. Alone for hours to breathe in fright. Let future unfold. Life hurling toward uncertainty. Alone. An only child who isn’t but it didn’t matter. Alone anyway. Mom sick. Dad sicker. Don’t know about getting better. Might not get better. Might be as good as it gets. And no one to tell I was mad. And afraid. So afraid.
Really had wanted to howl at the heavens, you hit my life! You hit my life. You hit. My life. Sorrow stuck in throat.
Sorry, crooked man. I wasn’t nice. You helped. Day out of hand. No listeners for the pain. You hit me. Found your red Corolla paint. Found a voice, too. Sorrow dislodged from throat.