It's been a little over five years since the last time I was almost killed. Faced with the choice of taking a ditch at the risk of my own life, or hitting and killing an eighty year-old man who was standing on a blind rise as I crested it, I took the ditch. The state trooper who witnessed the accident is a friend of my father's; he later told Dad that he was sure I was going to be an ejection death. The car went airborne, flipped, and rolled five times before coming to rest (upright) in the drainage ditch. Nobody was more surpised than Trooper Smith when I opened the door and stepped out into a stew of frigid water and broken glass- except, perhaps, me. When the Camry launched, I was pretty sure I was going to die.
Later that night, as I dug my sunglasses out of a twenty-pound red clay clod in the back seat of my car, I touched my temple and realized that it was what had left the muddy streak up the left side of my face- that clod blew out the window. My sunglasses had been on top of my head; they were so deeply embedded that I wasn't sure I would get them out of the heavy chunk of soil. When I called my father over to show him, he went white as a sheet, because he knew, too: a few millimeters of different trajectory, and my neck would've been broken by a lump of mud.
One of the young women from a class I taught today was singing and dancing as the group walked out of the library. When one of the older ladies admonished her to be quiet because it's a library, she replied, "Give me a break, will you? I found out yesterday that I'm in remission! I won't have to do chemo anymore! I'm pretty excited about that!" She was probably about eighteen years old, and if she'd wanted to do a production number on the service desk, under the circumstances, I would've let her. Hell, I would've helped.
My library director says that each of our students has a story; true enough, but everyone has a story. Thank God for the opportunity to live long enough to tell it.