Rick was on the phone with his family; I was making my way onto the highway headed for Chicago. As I approached the speeding cars to my left, the onramp descended. I spend down the ramp, and below me I saw a semi truck in each lane of traffic, preventing either from moving over to let me merge. I slowed to duck in after the semi in the right lane. Meanwhile, the ramp’s shoulder narrowed as it approached a bridge overpass. The semi passed and I made my move to duck in behind it. Only then did I see a second semi following immediately behind the first in the right lane, effectively making a wall, into which I could not merge. It was too late, I was approaching the bridge overpass and there was nowhere for me to go. I SLAMMED on the brakes, pulled hard to the right towards to bridge supports, and screamed as the semi rumbled by me, just barely missing my car. The milliseconds slowed to hours as I cringed waiting for the semi’s wheels to smash into my side, imagining the horrific end in store for me.
My life didn’t end in a horrific smash of sixteen wheeler on Subaru the day after Christmas, but it was pretty close to it. I pushed the gas and slowly eased myself back on to the highway. Recognizing just how close we had been to being smushed up against a bridge support I started sobbing. And sobbing. Rick hung up the phone eyeing what a mess I was. He told me I had done the right thing, and we were okay because of it. But it was so scary that my tears wouldn’t subside – they kept up for nearly a half hour.
We are in a completely transient state right now. Our lives are just beginning together. We are looking for jobs and places to make a home and family. In a few days we leave for a month in South America, but in just a flash we could have disappeared off the face of the earth.
I realized so quickly that though I sometimes get frustrated not knowing exactly what is in store for us, or feeling that my life doesn’t embody what I’ve dreamed it would be, that in the face of losing it (in a violent car accident) my gut tells me just how powerfully I want, really instinctively, my life. Occasionally you need the threat of how fragile it is to remember just how much you value it. This incident really lit a fire in me to get on with my work and dreams.