Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 11th

Last night on the way to a concert,  Joe-Henry was nearly hit head on by a bus.  He thought he was on the sidewalk (we were walking through a gas station lot and the driveway for it was huge).  He was about three steps ahead of us, chatting with his dad.  I had just had the thought "is that the sidewalk?", when we heard the horn.  We couldn't see the oncoming traffic because there was a bus shelter blocking the view.  The bus was doing thirty mph easily.  Luckily, Joe-Henry was wearing a new white sweatshirt he had gotten from his grandma for Valentine's day and was easily seen.  The driver slammed on the brakes, and honked, stopping less than five feet from him.

The blink of an eye in slow motion.  Charley was yelling his name. His eyes got huge.  His face was lit by the headlights.  Suddenly, somehow he was in my arms and I was holding him so tightly.  The twentysomething in the bus shelter said "whoa!".  I didn't see the driver, but wanted to thank him/her for being so alert.  The bus moved on.

Joe-Henry was so apologetic.  He felt awful for the bus driver.  He felt stupid for not noticing that he was walking in the street.  We were all weak in the knees.  While we waited in line for the venue to open the doors to let us in, we talked around it.  Then Charley said "two years ago, I was nearly hit by truck" while riding home from work on his bike.  It ran a red light, and clipped his front tire.  He said, "I'll never forget the date.  It was February 11th."  He and Joe-Henry realized at the same moment that it was February 11th.

Until we were inside, watching the amazing band, enjoying the music, and being in each other's company, I kept having visions of my boy flying through the air out of my peripheral vision; of having to explain to loved ones that there had been a sudden tragedy; of living a life suddenly without him.

A long time ago, I had to find tools to deal with all those "what if's".  I use them every day, in dealing with growing pains, tummy aches, headaches... They can be completely incapacitating.  They can stop you from  enjoying the moment, each and every one of them.  But last night, it just came too close, and I am still shaking, although in my mind I am beginning to see more of his face at the concert, beaming, full of joy and lit by the colored lights from the stage, instead of the white headlights of an oncoming bus.