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Somehow over, “Mom I need to tell you something” which my daughter says no less than 347 times a day and the radio…I heard a sickening crunch. The one that sounds like money and insurance claims and fiberglass bending in ways it shouldn't.

Even though I couldn’t see a thing, I was pretty sure that I had just backed into something.

Again.

And yes, my car does have one of those little back up mirrors. Apparently I need one that beeps as well.

I pulled forward and got out to inspect the damage.

It was dark and late and all I want to do on a Friday night is crawl into bed, so I never noticed that some little car slipped into a space perpendicular to my own. So close in fact that I couldn’t back out at all and eventually would have to move cones out of the way to escape through the front.

Immediately I saw a volleyball size dent in the side of the parked car.

I looked around and the parking lot was empty. Everyone was still inside the stands intently waiting for the second half of the game. I was the only one dreaming of an early bedtime. Instead of doing what I really wanted…which was to get back in my car and drive the hell out of there before anyone saw me, I dug in my purse for some paper. I wrote down my insurance information, name and phone number and tucked it securely on the dashboard.

One minor detail I am leaving out.  I placed it on the dashboard of what looked like a nice shiny new perfect Porsche convertible.

 I dialed my insurance provider to give them the details before pulling out of the parking lot and heading home already in a downward spiral.

My husband was incredibly patient and kind, telling me that is what insurance was for.
I took a Tylonal PM. Turned off my phone because I was not ready to face a very angry dented Porsche owner and climbed into bed. I didn’t hardly sleep all night. My stomach was in knots. Anxiety ran over me. I tossed. I turned. I played out a million different scenarios in my head. I wondered why I couldn’t have just backed into an old minivan, or even another telephone pole like the last time. I worried about the voicemails I was going to have to reply to in the morning. I even imagined the police coming to knock on my door. I considered never driving again. I tried to talk sense into myself. That it was an accident. That I have insurance. That I did the responsible thing and owned up to my mistake. But, there is very little talking sense into anyone’s self in the middle of the night. Shame and fear and anxiety always seem to win out in the early a.m.

 At 6 am I gave up and crawled out of bed to make some coffee and face whatever was on my cell phone. I couldn’t keep the coffee down and my voicemail was totally empty.

Saturdays at my house usually involve donuts, a good long run and cheering on my favorite teams.  I skipped the run, didn’t dare trying to eat a donut and watched my kids from the sidelines despite giant bags under my eyes and a knot in my stomach that was at least getting lighter as the day went on.

Still no voicemails cursing me. No police coming to take me away. I screwed up and I kept waiting for someone to yell at me. To punish me. To make me feel like less, even though I was doing a pretty damn good job of that myself.  Eventually the claims adjustor called, told me I had all the details they needed that they need from both parties and that was the end of that.

The knot got even smaller and I took a quick nap and woke up to watch my undefeated alma mater try to keep their winning streak alive.  They lost. Their perfect record smeared. But the game was exciting and they fought it out until the end and I imagine that they still got on the bus with their heads held high.

My car, by the way, had absolutely no damage. Because, like most acts of carelessness we usually damage the ones around us more than we harm ourselves.

However, my car still has a large crack that snakes up most of my windshield. A stray rock hit the window on a road trip this summer and left it’s mark. I haven’t bothered to get it fixed because I just haven’t wanted to deal with the hassle of taking it in. For months, I have been driving around a car with a giant crack in it. Today, someone else was driving around town in their dream car with an Outlander-sized dent in the driver’s side.

The knot in my stomach is mostly gone. I slept for 10 straight hours last night. I am still embarrassed and double and triple checked my mirrors every time I put my car in reverse today. And my town isn't that big...and it was at a school event. I am sure the owner will have a face soon enough.

But.
Windows break.
Cars get dented.
Records get broken

We are all out their with our own cracks and dents and defeats.  Doing our best to hide them or repair them.
But what if, for a change we just acknowledged them.
Stopped making, ourselves and everyone else, feel shitty for mistakes or failures.
Picked each other up. Were a little more careful with the broken pieces. Our own and everyone else's.
Held our heads high anyways.
That, and always check our mirrors before putting it in reverse.

 

“There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen


Comments

NUNZIA WRIGHT said…
Hi my name is Nunzia and i read your post. This one made ma smile.
and the song at the end of it ? too funny. thanks for sharing.

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