I’ll be the first to admit I was driving a little bit fast. And the road was icy. But my sister didn’t have to keep complaining, asking me to please slow down. I’m a safe driver. Experienced.
That’s when a light blue Ford Tempo cut into our lane. His brake lights flashed. I couldn’t stop. Swerved to the right but clipped his bumper. And we were spinning.
Whatever it was, it would work out. I’ve been in so many accidents, and I’ve always walked away.
This time, I was walking along a driveway. Didn’t know where I’d left the car. Knew that my sister was fine. A man, standing in front of the garage, told me I had died. He seemed to sense my shock. Let down his guard and admitted that there might be a chance to go back. But there would be brain damage, memory loss, incoherent speech, no way that I’d ever live independently.
Or I could stay.
I couldn’t imagine staying. Missed so many people. Was willing to go back no matter the cost. Needed to go back. There were still so many things I had to do in life. Things I’d done before and wanted to do again.
So I went back, and I did them.
I went on all the slides. And had pillow fights. Ran in the park. Dug huge holes. Buried my legs in the dirt on a sunny day. And laughed. So much laughter.
There was joy in my innocence. And there was pain.
I saw people I knew. Recognized their faces. Sometimes remembered their names. But most didn’t know me. Didn’t say much. Smiled like they couldn’t think of anything else to do. Didn’t seem to like me. Some just never came. And I couldn’t understand where they were. No one would tell me.
It was just past 4 in the morning. I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t keep my face dry. Kept on reminding myself that it had just been a dream.
I saw people I knew. Recognized their faces. Sometimes remembered their names. But most didn’t know me.