Monday, November 3, 2008

Over a year

It's been over a year since the car bucked its course and swerved across three lanes of the Garden State Parkway, bumping and crashing into a tree near the side of the road. It's been over a year since six girls on the way to a wedding crawled out of a car trapped by brambles and branches to meet the whizzing traffic of a dark, dark night.

It's been over a year, but every time I think about that night my heart quickens its pace and my breath comes faster . . . that night when we brushed shoulders with death, like gently skimming against someone at a party, because the crowd is so full and twinkly and happy, but this wasn't a party and it wasn't happy and it wasn't safe.

It's been over a year, and three of the girls from the car are now married, the one who was pregnant when we veered off the road had her baby, and the driver is almost done with graduate school. So why am I the one who still remembers and trembles?

My eyes still become filmy with tears when I think about what could have happened and what didn't happen and what did happen. Stupid tears, almost, because by now I should be able to forget, at least a little, and learn to drive, so my fear of the road won't swallow me whole. But I can't forget, at all, even a little bit, and it paralyzes me, and I know it.

I must get past this, and learn to drive, but whenever I'm in a car all I can think about is how some car will come out of nowhere and BAM! right into me and then bang and crash and the roadway is a mess and the news anchor is murmuring, G-d forbid, Hashem yishmor. Because I can't trust anyone to be safe. I can't trust anyone to drive defensively or not to tailgate or not go eighty miles an hour on a choked highway. I remember when Y gave me a ride, and I was clutching my contact lens case in my hand so tightly that my knuckles whitened and the outside of the vial became sweaty and wet with the fear my hand seeped into it.

Oh G-d, I just want this all to go away, away away away, and for my heart not to stop and for my breath to come normally and for me to get in a car and not think horrible thoughts. I want this shackling feeling to untie itself so I can feel free, and weightless, and lighthearted and happy again, the way I was, over a year ago.

Edit: This is my 36th post in 2008 . . . double chai. That could mean nothing, but for me it's something, and I think it's something good.