Note: This essay was written in 2010 and centers on an event that brings forth different personas from who I am as a person.
October 28th, 2002—two days before the 29th birthday and 36 weeks 4 more to go to preserve the body growing within my own. Was it enough to make sure that each day was safe to protect the life within my life? And, yet there I was lying in an ambulance as they ripped off the sleeve to my turtleneck. What could my only daughter have grown into? Would she have understood the difficulties that women face in their lives? Would I have the chance to teach her all these things? I’d love to have been given that chance to sit out in the stands when she receives her high school diploma smiling and waving at me when she takes that piece of paper that will lead to another one she’ll receive in college? Will there be a chance now after this? Will I have that moment? The paramedic checked my vitals and inserts a needle in my arm. I ask her what for and she tells me it’s just precaution. I’m not dehydrated, I tell her and she just nods. She gets a chance to become a paramedic, what if my daughter wants to be one too? And, all because a young man was sipping his coffee drove through a red light hitting me as I made that turn. All because of that, my daughter may not get to have that chance.
My grandmother, always the woman to provide such logical advice once told me when I was a young girl to always be prepared for all of life’s unexpected occurrences. She taught me to carry two lipsticks in my purse and change for the phone or a taxi. Most importantly, to always wear proper undergarments just in case I get hit by a car. Well, thank you, for that grandma. Of all days that this could have possibly happened, it happened at the most inopportune time. I just got done with my OB appointment. I thought the fact that I was 36 weeks pregnant does not necessarily mean that I must let myself go. I have watched all these women decide to get pregnant and for some reason they feel that this experience was their permission to let themselves go. I do not agree. It does not matter where you are in life, a woman must always look her best to achieve that beauty that radiates within her very fiber. I oftentimes want to yell at these pregnant women sitting in the doctor’s office “comb your hair! Brush your teeth! Get rid of those dungy sweatpants!” Of all things to wear, a pair of sweatpants should never see the light of day outside the privacy of one’s home. But, there it was, sitting there on a woman’s cellulite and stretch marked ridden thighs eyeing the world as if it has viewed it for the first time. Amazing. Today, as I lie here in the ambulance, I wonder why they had to rip off the turtleneck sleeve that I purchased from Neiman Marcus online. Was that absolutely necessary? Rolling up the cashmere sleeves would have been just as sufficient. Thank goodness that there was no need to tear apart my skirt nor the leather boots. However, should they have felt the need to do so—I was grateful that I listened to grandmother, for instead of putting on those hideous granny pregnant underwear—I decided to put on some Victoria Secret underwear with the matching bra. Should my daughter and I leave this world all because of this accident, I would not die of embarrassment.
The kid was absolutely just retarded. How many times have we all heard of not drinking coffee or talking on the phone while driving? I insisted on going to work after the appointment. It was the usual route I take for whenever I have these appointments during the day. I was merely making a left turn and on the corner of my eye, there he was running through the red light. Thank fucking god that I was able to try and speed up and his truck hit me on the middle of the rear door and my driver’s side door. There is nothing worse than having to decide who to talk to about a lawsuit. These are the fundamental facts: upon making a left turn on the intersection with the green light, I was hit by an oncoming business truck who ran a red light crashing into my driver’s side and rear passenger side door. On impact, my head hit the driver side window. An eyewitness who was at the stop light got out of his car to check on me and realized at the moment he opened my passenger side door that I was pregnant. Of course, I had to confirm this to the eyewitness by telling him that I’m pregnant. I refused to cry– relieved to realize that the wetness I felt oozing down my cheeks was merely the blood from a scratch on the side of my forehead from the impact. If we survive this, I was thinking, one of the comforts from this shitty experience was that my daughter will have her college tuition paid for after the lawsuit.
The Lost Cause:
There. In a brief moment all is gone. What exactly was the point of it all? I worked hard for my bachelor’s degree and in a brief moment all that can be gone. The decision and the desire to have a daughter, I’m starting to believe was based solely on my own. Did I bother to really sit down and think what he wanted? Of course, he would have wanted one more child. There was no doubt, but was there? If there was a point in this life where everything just needs to stop, this was the point for me. The wandering around aimlessly led to a pinnacle of nothingness. Every dedicated moment to achieve something successful had no resonance once it was all over. There was no feeling or sense of loss, just an aimless nothingness. The aim just happened to have been struck at this point in my life. Should I or my daughter survive this, could it be possible that the aimless wandering need to go on further?
As I sat there on the driver’s seat while the firefighters used their jaws of life to pry me out, I will learn from this experience and misery. I looked at the paramedic who was covering my left side with a blanket to prevent the broken glass from hurting me, he told me that it will be alright and that my husband was waiting in the middle of the intersection for me. I looked at him and ask if he had any children. He told me yes, he does and he will do what he can to make sure that we are both alright. I told him that my daughter and I will be fine. I am sure of this as I believe that whether we are of this world after this experience, the vehicle that my body was in was merely a shell. How can one not reflect back on all the lessons taught in a lifetime? These things, regardless of their misery or happiness, are all meant to happen as part of a cycle. Should I be angry towards the boy who decided to run through the red light—no, there was no point in such anger. Should this be my time to leave my body along with my daughter’s, then I must accept this suffering. Before entering this world, I planned this event in my life. Should I survive this event, it is of my nature and discipline to reflect on why this all happened—and what if anything must I take from it. Will I find the beauty of kindness in a complete stranger who opened the car door and called 911? Will I find that my task in this event was to protect the life of my daughter? Or perhaps, it was to learn compassion for that young boy who mistakenly drove through the red light and whose face of horror will forever be etched in my memory? Whatever lessons that I am supposed to learn from this, I know for sure somehow I will.
On April 2003, exactly 6 months after this accident, it was reported that the same young man died in a head on collision on a drive returning from Delta, Alaska. He was only 23 years old. The police report stated that the accident was caused by him falling asleep on the wheel. The other driver was not injured.