A Bit of Bad Luck

deer sketch - 2018 - 3x2
Eduardo Suré; Sketch of Deer, 2018; Graphite

Oh – I’m alright, only a little shaken up. The accident was just so random, you know? I didn’t do anything wrong. I wasn’t looking at my phone or checking my makeup. I wasn’t even going a little bit over the speed limit. It was just one of those things, I guess. A bit of bad luck…

My poor car absorbed most of the impact. The front end was smashed. It looked terrible. I know it’s not alive, but it looked sad and defeated lying on the back of the tow truck. I felt like I was looking at a dog about to be put down.

The accident wasn’t my biggest shock on the interstate this evening if you can believe that. Something happened afterward that was even more stressful for me. It made me forget I almost died and was standing alone on the shoulder of a dangerous road at night beside my wrecked car.

As I had mentioned on the phone when I called you earlier, I hit a deer. It happened just after I had gone around the bend coming down the mountain. I can still see it in my head in slow motion if I close my eyes. A deer had dashed out of the woods, jumped over the rail, and looked right at me just before it met the front end of my car. When I hit it, it looked like the deer was leaning into my car and then lying its head down on my hood for a nap. But it all happened really fast – within, like, two seconds – and ended with my car jerking sideways and my windshield shattering. I was scared a car was going to hit me from behind because of that bend. I am so glad I was able to pull over safely to the left shoulder.

After I put the car in park and shut it off, I took deep breaths and said to myself, “Sharon, you’re alright. You’re going to be alright.” It took me a minute, but I pulled myself together and then called the insurance. They wanted to send the police and an ambulance, but I told them I only needed emergency roadside service. I called you right after that.

After you and I hung up, I thought I’d take a look at my car. It was really dark out and the batteries in my flashlight were low. My hazard lights did illuminate around the car a little, so I was able to see the damage. It looked bad, but I was glad I wasn’t tore up myself.

I looked over at the spot where I’d hit the deer expecting to see it lying out on the road. The deer had actually moved itself off to the right shoulder. I couldn’t tell if it was still alive because it was dark. There were some streetlights on the interstate, but they were very far apart. Also, the headlights of oncoming cars blinded me while I looked back.

As I squinted my eyes trying to see the deer, a truck pulled over on my side. I thought someone stopped to help. I watched it slow down and drive slowly toward me. Then, it parked further from me than I thought it should have. I thought that maybe the person didn’t want to scare me or something.

After the driver turned off his headlights, my eyes began to adapt to the dark. I saw the truck was beat up. Unless an old farmer is driving with a Labrador retriever sitting by him, there’s something very scary to me about an old beat up pickup truck. I was very aware of how alone I was.

I watched the truck’s driver side door open and hoped the passengers’ door didn’t open too. It didn’t. An unsteady leg popped down out of the driver’s side and planted itself on the white asphalt. Again – I couldn’t see very well, but I could tell it was a man’s. He wasn’t a farmer.

As I prepared myself to be friendly and grateful to this stranger who’d stopped to help, he walked to the line that marked the shoulder apart from the road and completely ignored me. He stood watching the cars loudly sigh by, and I realized he was going to try to cross the interstate. Even if it were daytime, cars would not be able to see him in time to avoid him as they came around that bend at eighty miles per hour. He also had to cross three lanes to get to the other side. I tensed up.

As soon as the road appeared to be clear, he started across. The fool only made it to the center lane before a car zoomed behind him. Yes, behind him. It would have hit him if he’d been walking just a tiny bit slower. Almost immediately after, a car zoomed in front of him. I thought I was about to watch him be killed. The fool sprinted across as soon as the car went by, and he actually made it.

Once he was across the road on the other shoulder, he walked over to the deer. He stopped near it and looked at it. He then walked around it appearing to inspect it. I couldn’t tell what he was going to do. And I’ll never know because, as he started to look like he was going to do something, a semi truck drove up the shoulder he was on. I screamed. No one could hear me, but I screamed. The truck hit something and smeared it down the road like strawberry jam.

As I stared in horror at the spot where the man had stood, I noticed movement in the woods. Something crawled out of the bushes. It was the fool! He stumbled a little, stood up, and walked over to the guardrail. He stood at it for a few moments looking around, and then climbed over back onto the shoulder. I don’t understand how he got so far, but I suppose he had all the motivation anyone needed. I was relieved to see he was alright.

As if I hadn’t been through enough, I suddenly noticed a man was standing next to me. His presence startled me and I screamed. It was only the tow truck driver of course. He’d been standing there watching the fool too. He didn’t say anything to me, but I think we both knew our principal interest was finding out whether the fool would make it back to his truck alive. Loading my car onto the tow truck could wait.

After a group of cars zoomed by, the fool crossed the first lane in front of him. He didn’t go further because a group of cars zoomed by using the center lane. When they cleared, he ran forward just in time to avoid being hit by a semi truck. He had to wait in the middle lane because the cars just kept coming. For a moment, he appeared trapped. I was really afraid for him. Just when I thought he was going to be hit, he sprinted across and made it to the shoulder.

The tow truck driver and I watched the fool in awe as he walked back to his truck. He didn’t come by to see if I was OK or to sheepishly mention why he’d taken suck a risk. He didn’t even acknowledge our existence. He just got into his beat up truck and drove away.


2 thoughts on “A Bit of Bad Luck

  1. Oh! I have read this with a very small and tensed heart! It was so lively, like I was standing there. Eduardo, you scared the hell out of me 😉 !Well written! When we used to come back from the countryside at late hours, we used to encounter wild animals. Two times we encountered spring-bucks, jumping off the shrubbery. Luckily, this is dirt road and you cannot go fast but nonetheless accidents could happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, katemantis! That’s the effect I was hoping to have!

      I had one just like the one I drew jump in front of my SUV. Luckily, I was going slowly because I’d just crossed railroad tracks.

      Liked by 1 person

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