It is now September 1st, 2011, it’ll be three months this week.
I wish I could tell you anything special about that day. I remember the sun was getting higher in the sky, my memory feels bleached by sunlight. It was a Thursday. I’d decided to keep seeing the fellow I’d just started dating. I’d graduated physical therapy and was feeling unsure about life without my physical therapist, Kristen. I stayed out the night before, laid around all afternoon. Showered early and curled my hair for work. There is nothing special about that day.
Three months will come and go and no one will know but me. The scar shaped like Arkansas looks more like a birthmark and I don’t bother to correct anyone. I talked the emergency room nurse out of cutting off my work pants, but I haven’t worn them since.
I could never tell you what happened. I couldn’t tell you the order it happened. The now-me fills in the blanks with what I hope happened. I can’t tell you how it went, the truck disappeared in my rear view mirror long before he hit me and the more time I put between myself and it I lose track. I never saw him coming, I never saw the crash. I still know what it feels like. The impact remains inside me. I keep it in my bones. I don’t want to talk about these things.
I am better enough that I walk and drive. I am healed enough that a stranger doesn’t need to know. I work and chitchat and find things to fill up the hours of each day.
Life’s more and less fragile all at once. I understand, and have always understood, how fleeting it can be. Yet I bring carelessness to it now. I hear that after a trauma it is normal to continue to see the world as a constant threat, but it’s impossible to explain to friends and family that sometimes I’m convinced I’ll not make it the year. That future plans seem to be a waste. You can’t just tell folks this because they’ll worry. You’ll be labeled things. You’ll have people speaking in whispers around you. Exchanging uncomfortable looks when they think you don’t see. I don’t want to think these things.
There were moments when the pain made it so I didn’t want to finish the year. And I can’t name all the ways life isn’t what it was before. It has limitations now. I don’t still see parked cars on the street smashing into one another. But as the crazy thinking goes away clarity does not take its place. I look for resolution and I see none.
I don’t want to keep writing this.
If I am to keep living I am going to have to surrender to the future. And I realize that there’s part of me that doesn’t want to let go. This won’t be the meaning of my life forever but I lose sense of what the meaning of my life is supposed to be. Letting go makes it less important that I’ve survived. It’s too heavy a betrayal and the future remains a threat.
My brain parks sometimes in the moment before the crash. I am stopped in traffic, fiddling with the radio. I am checking my hair in the mirror, checking my lip gloss and fixing it. I am focused on getting to work, getting out of work, kissing the boy, seeing the ocean. What I hope happened. I don’t want to leave this moment.