6: A Dreary Saturday

6: A Dreary Saturday

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

A Dreary Saturday

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

~G.K. Chesterton

Even though I loved watching the Snorks cartoon series on Saturday mornings, I loved candy even more. The bank handed out Dum Dums lollipops, so I always wanted to go to the bank with my mom.

However, for some reason, one dreary Saturday morning I refused to go the bank with my mother. I kicked. I screamed. I threw the biggest fit I could. My mother wasn’t going to make it to the bank before it closed, so she had to make a decision. She would only be gone for fifteen minutes, maximum. What could happen in fifteen minutes?

She took my little brother and rushed off to the bank, and for the first time in my eight years, I was home alone. It didn’t seem like a big deal. I sat back down in front of the television, but something drew me to the back window. I went into the dining room and looked into my back yard. The gray sky opened up and it poured. As I watched the rain hit the water in our family pool, a sudden and violent jolt took me by surprise. To this day, I’m still not sure what it was.

I gathered my bearings, and something inside told me to get dressed and ready to go. I ran upstairs to my room and flung open my dresser drawer. I grabbed the most accessible pair of sweatpants and put them on under my nightgown. My mother was still in the habit of dressing me, so picking out what to wear wasn’t on my mind. I just knew I needed pants. After that, I needed shoes. My fuzzy bunny slippers would suffice. After I was dressed to my best ability, the same voice inside told me to watch out the window for the police.

I stood in my family room’s front picture window, waiting and watching. Maybe three minutes passed until I saw the brown sheriff’s vehicle come flying around the corner and onto my street, complete with lights flashing. I went to the front door and was coming out before the sheriff had even put the car in Park.

My brother met me halfway to the car and told me, “We were in a crash, and Mommy’s hurt.”

All I could say was, “I know.”

I walked to the car, opened the door, and crawled into the sheriff’s back seat. I can’t imagine how much my behavior must have puzzled the officer. How could I have known? We didn’t have a cell phone back in 1987. I rode quietly in the back seat while my younger brother sobbed in the front.

Once we arrived at the accident scene, the ambulance was waiting, and paramedics were still getting my mother stabilized. A kind police officer handed my brother and me each a stuffed teddy bear. I hugged mine gently as I saw my mother in the ambulance, lying on the gurney in a cervical collar. The police officer lifted my brother into the ambulance, and just before he lifted me, I saw my mother’s small, four-door sedan. She had been rear-ended by a lifted Jeep, the kind built for off-road fun. The force of the impact crushed the trunk, and the Jeep, having a higher clearance, ran up onto the back end of my mother’s car. The damage was severe, but my eyes were transfixed on the back seat — or what remained of it. It was crushed. If I had gone, either my brother or I would have been in that back seat, and one of us would have been crushed and most likely killed.

Someone or something saved me that day, and I continue to be grateful thirty years later.

~Heather M. Cook

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