We were four women laughing and talking together; having a great time in each others company. We were driving back from an adventure we’d just shared and everyone was in a great mood. Tracy was driving. Cathy sat beside her up front, Jacquie sat behind Tracy and I was behind Cathy. I had a perfect view of Tracy and the road beside and ahead of her. It was around 8:30 at night and the summer sky was still bright. We were doing about 80km along a straight country highway. There were cars ahead of us and behind us and quite a few going the opposite direction. A pretty typical summer Sunday evening drive.
Cathy was saying something and Tracy turned her head to look at her for an instant. She took her eyes off the road for an instant. It was only an instant.
Meanwhile the drunken driver of a black Pontiac Sunfire was having a hard time keeping his car on his own side of the road. I’ve imagined he may have been trying to focus by closing one eye. He probably thought he was doing pretty well considering how much he’d had to drink. Or maybe he thought everyone else kept driving into his lane instead of the other way around. Who knows what was going on in his mind? We will never know for sure.
I gasped as I saw the black Sunfire coming straight at Tracy. Time seemed to slow down and move in chunks. Tracy. Black car. Tracy. Black cars headlight. Tracy.
I knew that the impact would be hard. I knew that Tracy’s legs would be crushed and that the metal would crumple in on top of her. I knew that the jeep we were in would spin from the impact and consequently roll along the highway. There was a very good chance our vehicle would careen itself into a few more cars before coming to a stop.
The jeep held four mothers of twelve children all together. They ranged in ages from infant in diapers to adult children. All would be devastated; all would be changed forever in an instant.
Tracy turned her attention back to the road and an instant later she saw the black car coming straight for her. She had no time to think. Her instincts took over and she yanked the wheel of her jeep hard to the right and then hard back to the left. We missed impacting with the black Sunfire by mere centimetres. In that one instant all our lives could have been changed forever. Instead, thanks to Tracy’s quick reaction, we were all safe. Shaken up for sure, but unscathed.
I’m so grateful that nothing happened that night. I’m writing this now as a sort of therapy. The instant that could have changed everything for the four of us has been haunting me all week. I needed to get it written down so that I can let it go. I think what has been haunting me the most about that night was just how quickly everything can change. One minute you’re laughing and the next…
I guess it is another reminder to enjoy each and every moment. Life is so precious. Remember one of the six word memoirs ~ “It all changed in an instant.” Thank you guardian angels or powers that be from saving us from that particular six word memoir.