Yesterday, I had a pretty close call in terms of a car colliding into mine. I was at a light and intended on turning left onto the freeway. A cab pulled up on my right side asking if she could go ahead of me when we had the green arrow. Since I was in the outer lane to turn left, she got stuck in the lane to go straight. I gave her the okay and as soon as we had the green arrow, she drove ahead of me. I heard tires screeching and I saw a woman run a red light and plow right into the cab. It happened maybe six feet in front of me. I involuntarily closed my eyes when I saw the impact and I apparently flinched so hard, I pulled a muscle in my arm.
I felt panicked. I drove very slowly, and saw that both drivers were alive. I saw deployed airbags in the cab, and the bumper of the car that hit the cab completely tore off. The on ramp only had two lanes and there was nowhere for me to park my car, so I drove onto the freeway. I had dozens of thoughts flying through my head.
I was the one that was supposed to be hit. That car took that collision for me. What if it was me? Who would take care of my dogs? Who would feed them that night? We just had Aflac rep come by the office and give us a lecture on short term disability. I rejected it because I could not afford it. What if I was hit and landed in the hospital? I just bought this car three months ago. Would I be able to take care of myself if I couldn’t work for a few days? Could I afford it? Do they need a witness statement? I need to drive back to make sure they’re okay. That should have been me.
I turned off on the next exit and made my way back to the site of the collision. Highway patrol was already there as was an ambulance. The driver of the cab managed to walk into the ambulance and they drove off. I spoke to an officer and I wrote down my statement. I’m fully capable of writing with a pen, but I remember my hand shaking so much and I could barely write a full sentence. I had to cross out words that I repeated and I had to reread my statement to myself three times. I saw a woman sitting near me and I realized she was the passenger in the cab. I asked her if she was all right and she said she was fine. I told her I was the one who allowed the cab driver to turn ahead of me. She laughed and jokingly said “so you’re the one!” But I felt horrible. And I couldn’t apologize to the cab driver.
After I gave my statement back to the officer, I got back to my car and drove home. It’s not very often that I feel genuine shock, but I was having a difficult time processing everything I was feeling. Friends kept telling me that it wasn’t my fault and that I was where I was supposed to be. If anyone was at fault, it was the woman who ran the red. Logically, I agree. But had someone in that cab died, I would be devastated. And then I went into thinking if I were hit and I had died, I would have died with many regrets. But I did do some things right in the last 24 hours. I gave my friend a random compliment and made his day. I made a few of my coworkers laugh. I told my office spouse I loved her. The night before I took my dad to a show; he hadn’t seen a musical in decades, so he enjoyed the hell out of it. My regrets I will keep to myself for now, but I realized overall that I was happy no one died and that everyone could go back to their families.
I’m still trying to organize my feelings, but I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to reach out to me, to check on me, and even provide a way for me to forget the stresses of what happened. I know you guys are busy with your own lives, so it does mean a lot that you took time out of your day to lend me support. I have no idea how to end this journal, and I have no idea what I was supposed to learn from this experience, but just know I am thankful to have you all in my life.