I was up and showered and dressed and on the road to my annual check-up.
The light turned green, the cars ahead began moving slowly... then slowing... then beginning to pause as they merged just past the strip mall... and the young man behind me, in Tucson for all of two days, starting a new job, anxious to get there and unaware of the merge (to be charitable) or not paying attention (to make a bad situation worse than it already was) .... crashed into the back of The Uv... which pushed me into the Toyota in front of me.
It was a loud, unexpected noise. Twice. Once when he hit me and once when I hit her. I watched it happening in my rear view mirror and out the windshield. Did I mention the loud, unexpected noise? I don't do well with loud, unexpected noises. I sat still and remembered to breathe.
The young man was beside my window, hoping with all his heart that I was okay. What should I do? he wondered. You should call 911.
The lady from the Toyota was at the passenger window, smiling, telling me she'd watched me trying to stop (what do you suppose she could see me doing?) and suggesting that we move our cars out of the intersection, the ultimate crossroads of those going south, east or west.
The Honda which started it all was broken which was no surprise given the fact that he accelerated into a bumper positioned to take out whatever he shoved into it. It sat there, blocking traffic, until two landscapers parked their truck and ran back, gathering the young driver in their wake, and pushed his car behind mine.
I called Little Cuter to tell her that I was okay; we'd been hands-free chatting until we weren't any more. She's not thrilled with unexpected catastrophes involving her mother any more than I adore sudden booms; we were both glad to hear that we were fine.
I cancelled my doctor's appointment and begged them not to charge me as a no-show. I tried to reschedule it but had to hang up - the Sheriff arrived. And that's when things took a turn for the better. There was my Deputy getting out of the car. He looked. He smiled. As I put my arms around his neck and hugged him he said I know you!
He was the one who told me to lie down so that they could take care of me when, blood pouring out of my thigh, I announced to anyone who was interested that I've been shot and I need some help. When we left the hospital, I called the Sheriff's Department and asked for protection from the media. The voice on the other end of the phone said, You don't remember me, ma'am, but I was there at the scene... and of course I did, I told him, as I repeated what he told me on the sidewalk eleven days before. I don't remember a lot of what happened that day, but certain voices have stayed with me, I told him.
He led the detail that guarded my driveway, and afterward he sat in my living room with me, settling me in after seeing me cut down. We had a moment... or two... or three.
Months later, I saw him at Sheriff Dupnik's celebration of the heroes of that day. I got to tell his very young son that his daddy was a hero who saved my life, that he was a lucky boy to have such a great dad. Today, that proud dad told me that he has another child, a 4 year old girl, and we marveled at the changes that have taken place in wow, it really has been 6 years, hasn't it?
The new-to-Tucson-perpetrator stood there in bemused silence. The Toyota lady was still smiling. She nodded in agreement when I told him This is such a Tucson thing.
And so the claim is in process and it's only stuff not people that needs fixing. I'm still breathing and trying to remind myself about the important things. After all, the sun came up and I was here to see it. By definition, it's a good day.