This is story based on a true one that my friend Chris and I went through a year ago today. Obviously writing a story in hindsight will be slightly exaggerated especially considering the events. However, this story is based upon what I immediately wrote down upon arriving at the hospital which I wanted to do to preserve everything that I had remember about the accident. This is the story from my perspective about how we were hit by a car.
I remember seeing my breath in front of me, rising towards my glasses before it dispersed. Chris and I were walking to our twice a week tradition of pizza, coffee, and writing. His stride was slightly faster than mine, his breathing less heavy. It didn’t help I was glaring down at my feet as we walked. Despite these Doc Marten boots being the most comfortable ones I ever owned they didn’t possess a supernatural ability to give my feet the arch needed to walk long distances. My poor flat feet ached at every step.
I should have been an old hand at lugging my laptop bag around. I did it every day on college campus but it always weighed more than it needed to. A symptom of being over-prepared inherited from my mother’s side of the family.
As we crossed Jefferson Street another pedestrian passed on our left, his eyes focused on us, our eyes returned the favor. Being New Yorkers we were naturally suspicious of each other. I craned my neck behind me to watch the stranger reach the other side of the street before continuing our conversation about President Obama’s reelection. I felt it was a private conversation, and the frigid air of Nesconsett was not a place I wished to have a public debate with an opinionated stranger. It wouldn’t matter in a few seconds.
I faced forward in time to witness the left headlight blinding my sight. Before I knew what was happening my right arm securing the bag was in front of my body bracing for impact.
“Holy shit,” I yelled, using the arm securing my bag against my hip to take first impact. My hand felt like it was trying to catching an object too heavy too be caught, at a speed no reaction time was fast enough for. The car ignored my hand as it pressed into my side where my bag hung as I was pushed clean and hard away from the pathway of the SUV, my glasses and hat flown from my face leaving me practically blind to scan my surroundings. All I heard was the sound of a body hitting the concrete road.
Adrenaline rushed through me as I tried to focus on what had happened. Did I just get hit by a car? At the time, there was no anger at the driver, no concern for injuries I might have sustained even though my hand was now throbbing, and I understood audible words were being said to me from Chris but was unable to respond. I was in shock, my brain could not believe the messages the other parts of my body were trying to tell it. The message read, you were just hit by a car and for an incalculable amount of time I couldn’t give credence to it. Unable to see, the only other thought I could muster up was Where are my glasses?
I heard the driver getting out of the car. “Oh god, oh fuck, oh shit, are you guys okay?” His throat choking back fear at the realization of what he had just done. His voice sounded young, but I couldn’t be sure of his age. I could see the blurry figure heading towards me, asking me again if I was okay.
“Where are my glasses?” I spurted out, to which the blur frantically searched the ground eventually handing me my hat and glasses. I instinctively put my glasses on, then the hat. He once again asked if I was okay. I looked down at my hand seeing blood fill the surface layer of skin on my thumb, my pinky and ring finger hurt to bend. I just got hit by a car and I didn’t know if I was okay.
“I don’t know,” I told him. While all this was happening, the pedestrian who narrowly escaped getting struck himself was racing over hollering about seeing the whole thing, proceeded by a 9-1-1 call on his cell phone. With my glasses on my face once again, and the shock beginning to wane I took notice that Chris was laid out on the ground in front of the car, asking for me. I was strangely calm as I walked over. I saw no crushed extremities or blood but I couldn’t be sure of anything until I was right over him.
“Oh thank god,” he said. “I heard you yell and thought you were taken under the car.”
“Are you alright?” I asked. He scanned his body from his position laying down. “I think so, I just don’t want to move in case something is actually wrong.” That was quick thinking, it didn’t occur to me not to move but then again I wasn’t thrown to the ground. That fact still surprised me, as did the realization I had at that moment that I was hit by a car and I didn’t fall. In the distance down Jefferson Street headlights popped on. “That’ll be my dad,” the driver said. I turned to him now, really seeing him for the first time since I put my glasses on. Taking in what he just said, hearing his voice, and finally getting a long look at him I knew he was definitely still in high school.
The father’s SUV headed towards the scene of the accident as the sound of sirens began to reach our ears. Knowing Chris was uninjured, at least as far as both of us knew, I desperately wanted to sit down. Plopping myself down on the nearest curb, I rested my arms on my legs, my face in my hands and just waited there. I can recall looking up at Chris.
“We just got hit by a car…” I said.
“I know. I can’t fucking believe it,” he responded, with a bit of humor in his tone but no laughter.
The driver’s father arrived, followed by the police and the ambulance. The exchange of information was a blur of spoken words, nothing but bare bones facts of the whole scenario. I was able to discern Chris rising from the ground with the help of EMT’s. My hand shook as the police officer handed both our I.D.’s to me, which I instantly dropped unable to grip them in my right hand. The officer either didn’t notice, or apologized because he understood what I was going through.
Chris was on a gurney by the time I approached to return his license. I made the instinctual decision to go to the same hospital as Chris stepping into the ambulance first. As I sat down, the onset of worry began to weigh down on me. A million questions appeared in my mind, of the extent of my injuries, the condition of my laptop and the writing it contained, and the issues of money that came with broken body parts and broken property.
I was hit by a car.