Background: My mind tends to tumble down hills. I have to race to catch up with it.
Story: I rear-ended a minivan the other week (that, at least, is fact - no embellishing to be done, thank you, brain). Inside the minivan, through chance, or not, as your perspective dictates, was a pregnant woman. Not comfortably pregnant, as in if-she-had-the-baby-today-it-would-arrive-squalling-and-healthy, but dicily so: twenty-five weeks pregnant. Her mother, wringing hands, informed me of this before leaning forward to her daughter in the front seat and peppering the girl with a spray of worried questions: "You did have your seatbelt on? Does anything hurt?"
Interjection: The minivan suffered no more than a dent and scrape to one corner of its bumper. I wasn't going fast. I'd even applied my brakes, only (obviously) not quickly enough.
Story, Redux: And yet her mother feared the loss of the baby. As did my God-forsaken brain, which was already, not five minutes after metal's contacting metal, broadcasting images to me of this girl cradling her stillborn child.
We exchanged insurance information. No one thought to call the police. So I continued on my way to pick up my younger son at his school. Because one does. Continue.
Later my brother talked me down. Somehow he managed to recast the incident as one in which I was damn near heroic. What if, he speculated, the sun had sliced into someone else's eyes, someone not nearly as conscientious and attentive as I? Why, he continued, his voice growing more animated by the word, she might have lost that baby after all!
I blinked. This way of shaping things happy is utterly foreign to me. Implausible, too, I felt, but if nothing else I was comforted by a brother's love for his sister on full display in those outlandish words.
Denouement: Of course the woman and her baby were just fine. This post would be a wholly different creature had it not been so.
Still, the accident seems only the latest instance of life's way of splitting the infinitive. There's always something intervening, and that thing is usually messy and complicated. At least it is for me.
Welcome to my life. Welcome to my new blog.