Last night, as I was driving Bella to dance class, my phone rang. Now, I don’t answer my phone when I am driving. Ever. I have to be 100% focused on the road, I figure whatever it is, the person can wait. I did tell Bella she could answer it for me though. She tried to, but it rang just enough times to go to voice mail. We could see that it was Abe calling, and I knew he was stopping at the store before going home after work, so I assumed he was going to ask me a silly question, something that could wait.
Meanwhile, Bella is explaining to me that she’s just not very good at using cellphones. I tell her she is eight years old, there is no reason for her to be good at using cellphones. Of course, all of her friends have them, she adds. To which I reply, “Well that’s silly. You don’t need a cellphone until you are old enough to drive and have an actual reason to use it.” She agrees, and starts excitedly telling me what they are working on in dance class when the phone rings again. It’s Abe.
“Go ahead and try answering it again,” I tell her. This time she is able to catch it in time and happily greets her daddy over the phone.
“Daddy says it’s very important,” she says. I laugh and tell her to relay the message to me, I can’t talk, I’m driving. I’m expecting it to still be some silly question about which cat litter to buy, or if he should get milk while he’s out.
“He says he was in an accident.”
My heart stops.
I know I have to stay calm.
“Is he okay?” I have nowhere to pull over, my hands won’t loosen their grip from the wheel. I am hyper aware of every car around me, suddenly focused nearly to the point of paranoia.
“Yes, he says he’s okay.”
“Is the car okay?”
“No, he says the car is not okay.”
“Okay. Tell him we love him, to stay safe, and I will call him back in just a few minutes when I can pull over.”
I can’t freak out, my baby is sitting right next to me, watching me, reading my expression, my body language, trying to gauge how she should react.
“I’m sure he is just fine, and that’s what’s important. Cars are nice, but they’re just things, you know?,” I glance at her face as I try to reassure her. She nods in agreement. “At least we still have your car, Mommy!”
The closer we get to the studio, the more uncomfortable I get. I am anxious to hear Abe’s voice, to hear what happened, to be reassured myself. I’m also stressed, worried about the car, worried what we will do, how bad it is.
Once Bella is in class, I sit in the car and dial Abe’s number.
He answers quickly, assures me he’s okay, but tells me the car is undrivable. The only thing that honestly matters is his safety, but I won’t lie. The thought of a totaled car was a heavy weight on an already tired back. I know he is far more stressed than I am, he is very much a pessimist. I can hear the stress in his voice. We decide he needs to have the car towed to the house, that we will just figure it out from there. He tells me the tow truck will give him a ride home and so I hang up the phone and try to digest what happened.
The weather was gloomy. Dark, cloudy, smelling like rain. It was too warm to sit in the car with the windows up, so I rolled them down, closing my eyes and letting the breeze cool my flushed face. As the first tears began to fall, the sky opened up, spilling raindrops into the car window, disguising the sadness and washing it all away. I saw my reflection in the rear view mirror and laughed. You couldn’t tell a single tear was shed, it simply looked like I was caught in a quick spring storm. And before I could reflect further on my sadness, using the gloomy, dark weather as a crutch, the rain stopped, cut by brilliant sunshine. Another look in the rear view mirror revealed a gorgeous rainbow behind me.
You can’t have a rainbow without rain.
I was drunk in the symbolism of it all, how perfectly it was all timed.
My husband is safe. He was not injured. We are so blessed, every single day and in so many ways. This too shall pass. It sucks, don’t get me wrong, but it could have been so much worse.
On an optimistic note, while the car does not look good by any means, I am hoping that it is possible to repair it. I have been doing some research, (I’m a Google Queen, remember), and it sounds like there is at least some possibility that it can be salvaged. Not right now, not right away, but hopefully soon. I refuse to be pessimistic about it until proven wrong, so, you know, I got that going for me. 🙂