I rarely remember my dreams, but this morning I woke up with a clear image from a dream in my head.
I was walking with a woman in my neighborhood. I have no idea who the woman was, but what I describe in the opening couple paragraphs below was the image I had when I woke up. And the accident that follows was in that image as well. I had an idea of trying to take the image and write something immediately, but I had things to do this morning, so I couldn’t do that. It came back to me as I ate dinner, so … what this is then is a somewhat spur of the moment, flash piece, based on a dreamed image. One more note … this is very much a first draft, rough, unedited (at least not much), and written in the WP editor instead of in MS Word and then transferred here. Whatever I come up with tonight will be it, and I’ll push Publish. Be gentle.
Molly always did this thing when she was nervous. She would rub her left eyebrow with her right hand. I guess it’s why she didn’t see the accident as it was happening. Maybe without the nervousness, with her hand covering her eye, blocking her peripheral vision, she would have seen it coming and would have got out of the way. Maybe.
We were walking down Brittany Park Drive. At the corner of Elk Grove-Florin Road, we turned right. On our way to Taco Bell. A chalupa or two for me. Soft tacos for her. Maybe we’d split a Nachos Supreme.
I looked at her rubbing her eyebrow. Her hand covering her left eye almost entirely. Why was she nervous? I had no idea. That’s when two things happened.
First, she stopped walking and said to me, “Joe. I’m not feeling so good.” I was about to ask her why when the second thing happened.
Two cars came through the intersection almost simultaneously. The one in the far lane, just slightly ahead, tried to change lanes. But there wasn’t any space to do so yet. All there was was the other car. The one clipped the other, pushing it up on to the sidewalk and into a utility pole, mere feet from us.
I saw it coming, but Molly didn’t. Her hand covering her eye, the other focused on me while she complained about how she felt. It likely didn’t matter because she heard it. The squeal of brakes. The crunch of metal. The breaking of glass. The sounds of the accident caused her to drop her hand. The sight caused me to jump back. Not once, but twice. I tried to grab her, but my hand slipped off her elbow.
She felt it too, just as she turned to the noise. Part of the car’s bumper tore off the car and flew through the air, slamming into her side and knocking her to the ground right in front of me.
“Molly!” I screamed, trying to ignore the glass that fell around us, the sound of her breathe exploding out of her, and the crack of her head hitting the sidewalk.
“Molly,” I whispered as I fell to my knees and looked her over. The good news was that her eyes were open, she was breathing. She was going to be okay. Right?
“Joe,” she whispered to me. “I don’t feel so good.”
“I know.” I wasn’t sure what to do. They always say you shouldn’t move somebody until you know what their injuries were. But this was Molly, my wife. I needed to comfort her. I gently lifted her so she could rest her head on my legs, hoping I wasn’t causing more damage as I did so. “Sssshhh.” I gently stroked her hair with one hand while I dug my phone out of my pocket with the other. “I’m going to call 911.”
“Honey, there’s something I wanted to tell you,” Molly said haltingly. She lifted her hand to her eyebrow again.
“Not now. Just be quiet.”
A crowd began to form. Some were trying to help the driver in the wrecked car. Others were talking angrily about the fact that the driver who had caused the mess had kept on going.
“Did anybody get the license plate?”
“Nah, man. What an asshole!”
“What kind of car was it?
“No, no, no. It was a Corolla.”
“You’re both wrong. It was a Honda. Something like that.”
“It was blue, wasn’t it?”
“Again, you’re both wrong. It was silver.”
“Shit man, gray. Silver. There ain’t no difference there.”
“I think I saw part of the license plate. Maybe something like 5JW and then I didn’t get the rest.”
“That ain’t gonna help, none.”
“Maybe it will. We figure out the make, they can run those first characters and maybe get a match.”
“Is she okay, dude?” a teenage boy asked me, leaning over at his waist, hands on his knees.
I looked up at the kid and said the only thing I could because I didn’t want Molly to know I was worried. That I was scared. “Yeah, she’s fine. Just a little knock on the head. That’s all.” And who knew if the bumper hitting her had caused any damage to her hip, or anything else for that matter.
As the sound of sirens finally reached my ears, Molly reached her hand to mine. “There’s a reason I’m not feeling well.”
“What? Yeah, I know. You just got knocked down and hit your head.”
“No. Before that.”
“Oh right. Probably just the heat.”
“No, Joe. Listen to me.” Molly winced and rubbed her head. “My God, it hurts.”
“Just take it easy. The ambulance is almost here.” I could see the flashing lights coming down Elk Grove-Florin. an ambulance and a police car were on their way.
“Sssshhh. Just stop … you’re what?”
“You heard me.” She tried to smile, but it came out more like a grimace.
“But … but … ”
“Yeah, I know.” The grimace widened a little bit before it disappeared. “I guess the doctor was wrong. I guess we won’t need to start the fertility treatment now.”
“You know what. I think I’m going to throw up.”
That’s when the paramedics finally got to us. Who I would later learn were Frank and Mick.
“She’s my wife,” I told them when they were checking her out. “She just told me she’s pregnant.”
“Congratulations,” they both said.
“Uh … is she going to be okay?”
The one who I’d later learn was Frank replied, “Should be, but we need to get her to the ER and get her checked out. Have the doctors take a look at her head. The good news is it doesn’t appear to be anything else. No other damage. Just her head.”
“Just her head …” I mumbled to myself. The head could be a big deal though. I knew people who had concussions. Bad ones. Skiing accidents and skateboarding accidents and falls from bicycles. Knocking their heads on something and, sometimes, it took months and months for them to get right. To get past the headaches, the fuzziness, the grayness, the memory issues. All sorts of things. So … just her head. Yeah.
Frank and Mick put Molly on a gurney and rolled her into the ambulance. “What about the baby?” I asked Frank after he had slammed the ambulance doors shut.
“I don’t know. You should probably talk to the doctors about that. But like I said, there doesn’t seem to be any other injuries. You want to ride with us.”
I declined the ride. I could run home and get my car and meet them there.
As the ambulance pulled away and I turned toward home, I stopped and looked at the gathered crowd still milling around near the damaged car. “She’s pregnant. We’re going to have a baby,” I said to none of them in particular.
One of them, an old black man who was towards the back of the crowd heard me. “Well then, son, you need to get going then, don’t you? Go on, get out of here. Take care of her.”