Saturday, May 6, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 27

Tonight was crazy! Lara and I had gotten into a fight about something trivial in the morning. We didn’t take care of it early in the day, we just let it fester. She had planned to go see a movie with Nikki and April this evening. I planned on playing video games while they were at the movie, something I haven’t been able to do for a really long time. Well, apparently I had over charged our bank account when I was at Wal-Mart the night previous. Lara called because the debit card was not working, but I was on the phone with my Dad cause I missed his birthday yesterday, and I didn’t switch over. She left an irritated message, and since I was being an idiot, I just thought to myself, “April can spot her the money.” The night went on and I was feeling really relaxed, I was having a good time playing Nintendo. At about 10 the phone rang, I could tell by the ring that it was Lara. I was at a part in the game that was paramount to its successful completion, so I didn’t answer, and I just planned on calling her back. I forgot. The phone rang again about 15 minutes later, it was Lara, I answered.
JOHN: Hey, Babe.
LARA: The car is out of gas, and we don’t have any money on our card. I need a ride. What have you been doing all night?
JOHN: Can’t you just borrow some money from April.
LARA: (yelling) I already borrowed money from her to go to the movie. Do you know how embarrassing that is? What are you doing? You better be getting in the car right now to come get me.
(I was still sitting in my banana chair)
JOHN: I’m headed out the door where are you?
LARA: (frustrated to the point of almost crying) I’m at the chevron by the theater. Where have you been, why haven’t you answered the phone. Nikki and April went home and I got stuck at this terrible gas station, and I’ve been here for 20 minutes what have you been doing?
(Like an idiot I tell the truth)
JOHN: I was playing Nintendo.
(There was silence)
LARA: (Screaming) Hurry up!
(Then she hung up)
I got dressed and got in the car to go meet up with her. When I pulled into the Chevron, she didn’t even get out of her car, she just sat there. I started pumping gas and walked around to the driver’s side window to talk to her. The door was locked. I tried talking to her through the window, but she just kept looking forward. I said, “I know I deserve this but would you please talk to me so I can apologize.” In response she turned to look at the gas meter to see how much longer she would have to wait before she could leave. I gave up and was kind of mad, though in retrospect I probably didn’t have any right to be. No sooner had I shut the gas door she started the car and without a word sped off. I got into my car, a little upset and tried to catch up with her. My hopes were that I would be able to get home as close as possible to when she got home so that I could try and calm her before we went to bed. You know, the whole “never go to bed angry” advise that everyone likes to give out at weddings. So anyway I am driving on the freeway, and its dark out. I think I see what appear to be her car a few lengths ahead of me. I hang back a little bit because I don’t want her to see me following and speed home faster or something. After a couple of minutes off in the distance, I see what appears to be headlights’ coming strait at me. I saw cars ahead of me swerving to get out of the way, but I distinctively thought, “there’s no way a car is coming at us.” Then before I can react or even think about it further I see the two cars in front of Lara’s swerve and she had no time to react. I see her car slam head on into the on coming car. All I could discern was that the force of the collision swung the back of her car into the air to where I could see the whole bottom of the car. I slammed on my breaks and the horror of what just happened sunk in. I pulled over and was about to get out of my car to run over and see how everyone was doing, but I noticed car after car speed right at the wreck and then dangerously swerve to avoid hitting them again (keep in mind this all happened in less than a minute. It was like 11:45 at night, so traffic wasn’t terrible, but I reversed my car and then when the opportunity presented itself I pulled my car into the same lane as the wreck about 100 yards back, stopped, flipped on my hazards and got out of my car and ran towards the wreck. My thinking was that it would be better for someone to hit an empty car then to hit the one that had my wife who was probably already seriously injured in it. As I ran toward the wreck I noticed for the first time that this car was not my wife’s car, it was a pick up truck, and it was nothing close to my wife’s car. I was as overjoyed as I could be under the circumstances. Lara hadn’t been hit after all. I was the first to arrive at the scene, and this part is weird. As I run up to the truck the driver climbs out of the window and who is it but my best friend from middle school Phoumixay Chounlamany. I say hi to him and we both marvel for a second at the fact that we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other for two years, and that we would meet in this way of all ways. He then goes to help his passenger out of her seat too. Both cars are pretty destroyed and I am amazed that Phoum and his lady friend just walked away. The driver was not so lucky. I went over to see if she was okay. She was totally out of it but awake. She was trapped under the steering wheel and had hit her head pretty severely. There was blood everywhere. She saw me and reached out to me and called me Jeff. I tried to talk to her and keep her coherent; I was kneeling by her car, a late 90’s brown Ford Contour, holding her hand through the driver’s side window. I tried asking her her name? She looked at me and her mouth tried to form some words but her response was an incoherent groan. Her eyes were spinning like she was drunk or dizzy. I said its going to be okay and then her head, which was holding itself up until now, flopped violently to the side, and her hand went limp. I tried to check for a pulse to see if she had died. I could only feel my own pulse pumping… I couldn’t tell, I had this horrible pit in my stomach I thought she died right there as I held her. I tried to arouse her, but she didn’t move. The Highway Patrol should up then and started debriefing everyone. To cut the story down, the block the whole freeway and had Life Flight land directly on the freeway to take her to the hospital. As I was giving my report the Highway Patrolmen told me he didn’t think she was going to make it but that she was definitely alive when he got there. Apparently she was drunk, and got on the freeway at 600 S going the wrong way. She had traveled nearly 24 blocks before hitting my friend Phoum. I had tried to call Lara, through out this experience which took an entire hour from the time it happened to when I got to start driving home. She was not answering. I was really concerned because the Officer also told me that three cars had ran into the cement medians in an effort to miss the on coming car, and that all of them had been taken to the hospital. There was about 60 seconds where I thought Lara had been hit by a car and it was perhaps the most terrible experience of my life. I drove home hoping she wasn’t one of the three who had wrecked. When I pulled up to the house I saw her car parked out front. I started to cry. I came in side and she was asleep. I woke her up and told her the whole story. Luckily she forgave me for the days events. I had to write this down because I have never been so aware of how much I love that woman! I have been taking her for granted, I would do anything for her, she is the only thing that really makes me happy in life. I hope I read this story and that I can remember the feeling I had running from my car towards what I thought was hers. I love my wife. I love her!

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