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Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday Memory: The Lady in the Road

 


Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about the time I saw the lady in the road?


I was in high school, and my mom and I were driving up I-70 in a light rain. I don't remember where we had been, we must have been on our way home from an ordinary errand.

We could tell there was a disturbance up ahead, and as we got closer it became obvious that there was a car on its roof on the side of the road. Mom saw and understood what had happened before I did, and I heard her say, "Ohhhhh Jennifer, don't look." There was a choking sound in her voice, and more than anything that caused me to look. It wasn't rebellion, I had just never heard her sound like that before and I acted without thought.

We passed quickly, since the accident had just happened traffic hadn't had a chance to slow down yet. It didn't matter, I saw enough. The car was on the right hand side of the highway, and as we passed I was very near their upturned passenger window. The glass had shattered out into the road, and a woman was hanging upside down, caught in her seatbelt, partway out the window. Even though it seems gravity would make this impossible, her face and arm were white, like they were soap instead of skin. Her hair spread across the road, long enough that I worried we would drive on it. Even though everything else about the setting was dreadful, her brown hair was radiant, made beautiful by the rain and the shards of glass strewn through it.

There's no way to know if she survived that crash or not. I still think about her, and wonder if the crash is a distant memory for her, or if she's still dealing with the effects of that accident. Maybe she's in a wheelchair? Maybe her back hurts before it rains? Or, maybe that was it for her, and she died hanging out the window of that broken car.

Whenever I think about this, I am filled with warmth for my mom, for trying to keep me from seeing this, to keep me safe and protected.


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Comments:
Wow, what a vivid memory. I still the crashing and cruching of metal in my sleep from being in an auto accident. My MM is up.
 
Woah! That is a really vivid and intense memory. Odd how the visual part of the memory is beautiful.

It was a noble thing for your mom to try to protect you from that view.

I was first on the scene of a bad multi car crash once. Even though I was in my twenties, the imagery still lingers.
 
You have a tender heart. I hope she recovered and has no memory of what you saw.

My MM is up.
 
My mom would always say "don't look" when I was young and we passed an accident, too. When I was older though, I do remember seeing some bad accidents. I was always thinkful I could at least pray for the people involved, even if I could do nothing else.
 
Wow, very vivid memory (everyone is saying that huh?). And how traumatic. I think (no I KNOW) I would have had nightmares about it for weeks.
 
Unfortunetly I see that on a regular basis. Most recent was the gut driving a truck 11 feet high try to go through an overpass that was 8 feet high. Luckily the passenger only got stiches from being flung through the windshield.
 
wow! I can clearly see the image you describe and I can understand why your mom wanted to sheild you from it
 
Wow Jen - you wrote that beautifully.....I can only imagine the imprint that has left on you based on your ability to recollect it....thanks so much for sharing
 
I've been really lucky in my life and haven't experienced anything like that at all.
 
I remember my mom telling me not to look when we passed an accident, too.
 
Why is it that we always seem to look when we go by accidents regardless if we're told not too. Thanks for coming by.
 
What an incredible memory! Does your mom remember it this clearly as well?
 
Wow. I've got the shivers.
 
I had come upon something similar, an SUV had over-turned and some other drivers were getting out of their cars. I asked the person I was with if we should stop to help, and he callously said he didn't want to get involved! It was sad, because I could see the driver with a panicked look upon his face.
 
I hope that poor lady survived.
That memory is seared into your brain.
 
Man, for a minute I thought you'd been reading my notes. I had a similar experience years ago and it took a long time for me to feel safe again. I have since used that scene in a short story and a novel, but have never mentioned it in my blog. This was a very powerful memory.
 
Sounds like you have a great mom. I hope the lady in the road doesn't remember what happened or is a peace anyway.
 
Wow. That must be a powerful image to have in your memory.
 
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