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I found a piece of writing that I submitted as a reflection for a class I took in 2004 – this story happened 40 years ago.  It’s interesting to look back at writing from 16 years ago. 

Second Chances
When I was finally helped up onto my one good leg after the accident and brushed myself off, I looked up and saw what I thought was an angel headed to Heaven.  My books were not in my hands, and my purse was not on my shoulder.  Everything had happened so quickly that it took a few minutes for me to realize that I wasn’t dreaming.  I had been hit by a car and somehow had miraculously survived. 
The morning started out like any other school day.  I got up, ate breakfast, dressed myself, and packed my lunch in my purse before heading out to meet the bus in front of the Presbyterian Church.  Usually, four of us waited together on the bike path five feet from King’s Way.  Since no one else was there that day, I thought I had missed the bus.  Knowing my mother would strangle me if I came home and said I needed a ride all the way to Brunswick, I decided to wait a while.  My watch assured me that I was on time.  Surely the bus had been by too early.  I didn’t put my books down like I normally did, since I planned on heading back home if the bus didn’t come along soon. 
I kept looking to my left, anxiously anticipating the appearance of the big yellow bus or its rattling sound before it came around the corner.  I don’t know what made me look to my right, because that wasn’t the normal bus route.  But I think it was God’s loving hand that directed my attention that way.
          When I turned and saw the car careening out of control headed straight for me, it felt a lot like a speeding 3-D movie in which (at the last ten millionth of a second) the camera comes to an abrupt stop, even though by then my eyes are shut tight like a clam, my heart is beating faster than Ragtime music, and I’m panting like a dog in a hot car.  In the 3-D movie scenario, though, I would have panicked knowing that there was no imminent danger and that no physical pain was going to be involved.  But this was no movie, and there was no escaping injury.  I had less than a second to make a choice that could just as easily have been the wrong one. 
Had I run out into King’s Way, another car might have hit me.  Instinctively, I ran as fast as I could toward the church, the fear of death propelling me.  Everything else happened in slow motion, just like in a recurring dream of mine in which I’m running hard and going nowhere.  I saw an Oleander tree and dove under it.  As I did, my right leg felt a stab of pain, and then the ground was cupping my face in its hands. 
The nauseating thud of metal and shatter of glass as the car twisted like a pretzel around two pine trees ended the madness.  I knew in my heart that the man in the car was dead, but I hadn’t expected to see his processional to Heaven after the driver’s door opened and he stumbled out.  I kept waiting for him to ascend, but he didn’t.  When he fell to the ground, I thought the Earth was opening for the Devil to reach up, grab him, and pull him down to Hell.  He was supposed to go either up or down, but he stayed right there in the middle of Heaven and Hell, moaning and writhing in pain. 
Two sweet ladies with arms and bosoms as big and soft as pillows came in their white nurse dresses and hats and engulfed me, surrounding me in safety all the way to the back seat of their car, where I waited on the ambulance.  As the bus passed by the scene of the accident, every face in every window looked the same.  Their mouths were open, their eyes frantically searching for me and the others who should have been there that morning.
My mother arrived, calm and comforting, because a family friend on his way to work had seen the chaos and made sense of it before knocking on our door to say, “Miriam, Kim is okay” before continuing his further explanation, “but she was hit by a drunk driver.  I’ll take you there.” 
The policeman ambled over to the car with the tattered remains of my books.  He also held my purse, its rainbow-striped straps torn and jagged.  It had been the one thing holding on to my shoulder from behind, proving that if I’d been a few inches back there with it, I’d have ended up on the other side of the churchyard, too.  I don’t remember too much more that happened in the aftermath of the trauma, but I do remember feeling like the boiled egg that I’d put into my purse for lunch.  On impact, the shell of the egg had been absorbed right into the rubbery white part.  I thought of the two nurses, their warm black skin and their white eggshell uniforms surrounding me and absorbing me as they took me to their car to realize that I had lived and I was going to be alright. 
Ironically, the driver and I were taken to the hospital in the back of the same ambulance.  My mother deserves a lot of credit for not finishing him off right then and there as she sat beside me holding my hand. 
Later that same week, I was shocked to see the bandaged and bruised driver come into our living room.  My parents greeted him warmly, after which he handed me a Snoopy book and apologized for nearly killing me.  My mother took me to my room, closed the door, and told me to stay put until I had permission to come out.  I wasn’t allowed to hear the conversation taking place, but I know what was said. 
My father, an ever-forgiving Baptist minister, had issued an ultimatum to the driver:  either check in for help at a recovery facility and overcome the addiction, or face charges.  Not surprisingly, a local rehabilitation center received a new patient right away.  That was twenty-five years ago.  I sometimes wonder what ever became of the driver, and whether or not he ever relapsed and tried to kill anyone else with his weakness.  I may never know his fate, but I do know this:  both the driver and I were given a second chance at life by a higher power.  And that’s enough to satisfy me.

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