We made it to the entrance to the parking garage, figured out how to use the new tech self pay machine and entered the dimly lit, multi -storied car park.
I had placed my heavy ‘busy bag’ that was full of things to keep my mind or hands busy while I wait, on Jerry’s lap along side her big handbag. She was so small that she was completely covered. The bags and Jerry made the wheel chair I was pushing very heavy for me.
I wondered if my delicate back which had been previously broken in three places would be keeping me up all night as a punishment for stressing it this way.
I thought, “No good deed goes unpunished”. I quietly told the universe that I hoped that was not really true, and started across the two-laned driveway. We were situated just out of the curve on the lower deck of the garage and I had planned to go to the far side, to the inner part of the curve, to save myself some steps while pushing the heavy load.
Meanwhile, I heard a car going way too fast in a dark and crowded parking garage, coming rapidly in our direction, from an upper floor. It screeched around the first corner of the upper deck and barreled down the drive to the corner where we were crossing. I thought to myself, “He’ll slow down”.
But he did not.
The car and driver came flying around the curve like a bat out of hell. We were in the middle of the driveway and I knew that I would not be able to get out of the way. I stared directly at the driver and wondered how he could not be slamming on the brakes yet! But, he wasn’t looking ahead- he was looking down, as if at his lap.
I braced for impact, my only thought was that I hoped he wouldn’t hurt Jerry. Then, my intuition told me that we would be alright…and just as suddenly the driver looked up and out- directly at us.
He slammed on the brakes and I could tell he was pulling the steering wheel with all his might toward himself- as if that would help him stop the car.
I watched with a twisted sense of calm assurance as his drivers side bumper came directly at us at far too many miles per hour.
Jerry was silent.
His car slowed enough to hit us at am impact sufficient to only just push the wheelchair over to a tilt. The bumper had hit the large rear wheel. The chair, with Jerry and our bags in it fell to the side. I was able to exert enough resistant force to stop it from falling entirely to the ground and dumping it’s human and possessory contents onto the hard, cold concrete.
I felt my back twinge and spasm.
I struggled to not let the chair topple completely over. I managed to right it without anything falling out, including Jerry. Neither of us was hurt.
The driver seemed disoriented and unsure of what to do. It took a few seconds for him to turn off the car and open the window to inquire if we were alright.
We did not scream at him or otherwise insult his intelligence. He looked as if he was irritated with us for having been in his way! He was a little, old, brown-skinned foreign man who might have had more than a little hatred in his heart for women, especially older women of color.
He never did say he was sorry.
We pushed on, past his car and I decided that I would let the matter go. He looked crazy. We were not hurt, just a little shaken up. I already had my hands full with my own life and the old life that was falling apart on my watch. The lawyer in me determined that with no real hard impact and my pre-existing condition, that any after the hassel of litigation- would be nominal. Just enough to make me wish I had not bothered.
I did secretly pray that the driver had peed his pants! I made a mental note to take doubled up ibuprofen when I get home. I thanked od and my guardian angel for protecting us.
At that point the incident was over for me.
Jerry, however, harped about it all the way home. No matter what my attempts were to calm her and try to help her put the experience into perspective, I could sense that she wanted to be angry.
I think the days events had finally caused her to lose it. I understood.
What I did not know, however, was that this already tough day was long way from over.