The storms rolled in purple violet, and I thought about death. I was driving from Jekyll Island into Savannah, Georgia late at night. It was like driving in the tropics, the humidity caused the road to steam and everything felt green and wet. My brother had just moved into his first apartment with his girlfriend, and they needed furniture. I loaded my car up with as much as I could and drove through the night. I thought an hour long drive by myself would mean I could blast the radio really loudly. Instead, I sat in silence and listened to the deep Southern storms rumble. The rain came down in thick gray sheets. It was beautiful, and I was scared. Years ago I was in a car accident. I was the passenger, my boyfriend was driving, and we were on our way to snowboard in Wisconsin. It was late January and a huge snowstorm had blown in, and the roads weren’t even plowed. However, being young and naïve, we forged ahead with the trip. He was driving a little fast, but I never wanted to nag, so I kept my head down and did the crossword. I had already taken off my snow boots in preparation for the three hour drive. At one point he went to shift lanes, and we hit ice and started spinning. Even in those long, slow moments of spinning, I never thought we would crash. It seemed like we would just fishtail or spin forever. Instead, we bounced between a semi truck on my side, and the median. The last thing I remember is wheels coming at my side of the door, and thinking I was going to die.
I didn’t, obviously. We hit the median and stopped, and miraculously were alive. The entire back of the car was smashed in and every window had blown out. I reached up and had blood dripping down my face. Luckily, I only walked away with a few scratches and my boyfriend was fine. I found shreds of glass in my boots for months afterwards. The experience stayed with me, and it wasn’t even the inclement weather or the blood. The part that stayed with me was how quickly it could all change, just shifting lanes.
I thought of the accident that night driving to Savannah in the rain. I was in a much better car, a larger SUV with solid tires. And I was the driver, I knew to slow down and put my hazards on. Never had I been so grateful for a sensible trucker driver in front of me, while all the other drivers sped by. There were still moments I worried I would skid, and start hydroplaning. It was those moments that I thought, this is it. I knew there was no turning back in my life. I wasn’t magically going to be twenty-two again and not get pregnant. Charley was here, I was married, I was a mother, this was the way it was going to be.
I suppose you could say that was when I decided to have another child.
I got pregnant a week later.