One afternoon in Richmond I was stuck in stoplight traffic at the intersection of Harrison and Franklin Street in Richmond, minding my own business, when I was hit by a bicycle. I repeat: sitting in a stationary vehicle, I was struck by a bicycle. It was my Civic who suffered the physical blow, though the whole ordeal left me traumatized for at least an hour. Most people are dubious when I tell them I was hit by a bicycle, especially when they see the cluster of dents left, not on the side or rear, but somehow on the top of my trunk. What kind of bicycling she was doing I’ll never know because I still don’t even understand how she hit me.
I’m sitting still, waiting for the light to change when out of nowhere I feel, and hear, the THUMP. Simultaneously I witness the thump’s cause in slow-mo through the lens of my rearview mirror. A mangled mess of hair and handlebars flies up, then down. THUMP.
My chest tightens and in a lifetime of a second I experience the five stages of grief for what will surely be the loss of my freedom because somehow I’ve managed to kill someone while sitting still at a stoplight. Just my luck. Thanks, Universe. Mostly I’m shocked, even mystified at how this has happened. I can’t understand how I’ve just hit a person without ever moving.
I can’t tell you how much time passed before shock gives way to terror, then confusion and then, a rush of relief when the lady in question pops into my left side mirror, running toward my front window with bulging frantic eyes calling out, “Ohmygod! I’m so sorry!” Ohthankgod. It was her fault. I’m so relieved I could peed my pants (maybe I did?). I’m too stunned to say much save for a dumb inquiry as to the state of her wellbeing. Then the light changed and off I go, still in disbelief.