I stayed in bed this morning an extra 10 minutes with the rumblings of a node in my head. My sister called between mental softlinks and invited me over for the day. We got movies. We were on our way for food. And then something happened.
Going up a perfectly beautiful road on a perfectly beautiful (although entirely too humid) day, a cement truck was too close to avoid. The last thing I said was "Oh, no."
An inflatable raft of sorts shot out like a bang and suddenly the car was filled with smoke. A fireworkey smell I could not breathe. Two heart beats. "I'm alive, I'm okay." And suddenly it's all about her. I turn to see her, she's slumped over in the seat. Motionless. Shit.
I run to the other side of the car, without thinking about the huge cement truck we just hit. A fleeting glance around at traffic and then I'm pulling her from the car. Oh, no. Oh, Shit. She starts to cry and then I know she's okay. My arms burn, but that doesn't matter. Her face is bloody, her hand is mangled and one look at the windshield tells me that air bag saved her life.
I cradle her as best I can hold a teenager in my arms and I kiss her hair. I'm thanking God and telling her not to worry and ready to cry out for my mommy all at the same time. The police come, the ambulance comes, and we're off. I can't say it in front of everyone--I know the way these insurance types work. So I whisper, real quiet-like, in her ear. "Oh, no I'm so sorry."
I emerged from a hospital exam room three hours later looking like I've tried to slit my wrists. The second-degree burns on my forearms and face are bandaged up now in clean, white gauze. And there's my little sister sitting on a bench waiting for me. Without the blood and tears she looks almost normal. She smiles at me and we walk out of the hospital behind my mother, holding hands. It's a great day to be alive.