Culture Magazine

Pain-In-The-Gut Scary

By Grace Peterson @GracePeterson3

Pain-In-The-Gut Scary

August 9 photo of crash scene on I-5 

IT WAS EARLY EVENING on Friday, August 9th. I'd just come in from an after-work stroll through the garden. Satisfied that my mental to-do list could wait until morning, I plopped myself down on the sofa, clicked on the remote and grabbed my laptop. 
A quick news flash, caused me to look up from my slowly loading computer screen. 
"Deadly crash on I-5. Details next," accompanied the jarring photo to the right. 
I Googled the TV station's website and found the photo. Staring at it made me ill. Oh God, no! The route alone was enough to give me pause but the photo of that sickeningly demolished white car sent me into a dither. My husband drives I-5 and the car, it looks exactly like the one he drives! 
I set the laptop on the table and hightailed it over to my purse to grab my cell. I didn't count the rings but eventually I heard Steve's voice on the other end. Unfortunately it was his recorded voice. 
But, the wiser me pointed out, he doesn't always have it turned on while he's driving. He's probably fine and besides, I don't think he even drives the stretch of I-5 where this accident happened. 
I hit "redial." Still no answer. 
The TV's "Breaking News" wasn't much help. It was too early to get details other than, it involved 3 cars and there was a fatality! My stomach lurched. No, the wiser me comforted, repeating all of the earlier realities. 
The sound of a car in the driveway offered a ray of hope but a quick glance at the clock dashed it. Too early. Steve usually doesn't get home until around 8:30.  
It was my son, Dan. I contemplated showing him the photo but I didn't want to upset him like I would my daughters if I showed it to them. But Dan is pragmatic, like his father. He could handle it. I got up and walked outside and greeted him as he got out of his car. 
"Hi Dan. Can you come inside? I want to show you something. " He looked at me strangely, then even more strangely after I said, "You might not like it." 
"Look," I said, showing him the photo on the TV station's website. "It's on I-5. Do you think that's Dad's car?" 
My son was quiet, then ambiguous. "No, I don't think so" became, "Damn, it might be." 
I dialed Steve's number again. Voice mail. 
"Download the photo so we can zoom in on it. I need a closer look at the hubcaps." 
Dan studied details of the photo then asked me to Google the make, year and color of Steve's car. Comparing the Google image and the wrecked car in the photo finally offered a bit of relief. The hubcaps didn't match at all. 
This my dear friends is another one of those full-circle moments--the child, now a grown man, assuaging the parent. There are probably a lot more of these circles in my future as I contemplate the journey on the downhill side of my time on this earth.
Like clockwork, at 8:30, Steve's white car with nary a scratch, pulled into the driveway, followed by my prayer of gratitude.
Pain-In-The-Gut Scary

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