I left the doctor’s office for a routine medical exam, the kind a woman moans about in whispers to her best friend. Since there was another hour before a nail appointment, this seemed to be the perfect opportunity for a quick nap. I arrived home, laid down on the couch, and no sooner had fallen asleep when I woke with a mere five minutes to get there. Dazed, I grabbed my favorite purse, the one Mom once laughed about, saying it looked as if it came from a bargain basement sale. I ran to the car, and raced to the salon around the corner.
These days a four-year-old memory haunts me every time I park in front of that salon, along with dread and a sort of creepy desperation akin to fear. I still can’t believe this is my story and not another’s to tell. Yet, heaven knows I’ve earned a certain right to share.
In a hurry, I swished my silver Hyundai into the parking space directly in front of the salon window. I braked but felt mush under my foot. My helplessness mounted with every pounding of the pedal, yet my car barreled with the speed of a racing train up and over the curb, barging through the window. I grabbed the gearshift, shoved it into park, before the car came to a jarring stop in the middle of the waiting room. Something similar to disbelief plagued my senses. I never got the “what-to-do” instructions for this one.
Still seated, I grabbed the cell phone to call Robert, my husband. With rapid speed I shouted, “I ran my car through the window of the beauty salon.” I look up to a choir of mouths opened wide enough to shove in a pan of cornbread.
Robert said, “You did what?”
“Never mind. I’ll be right there.”
My audience held iPads and cell phones taking pictures while people came from up and down the sidewalk to do the same. Before the hour was out, the digital airways were hot with messages shooting across cyberspace. In the days, weeks, and years following, my beloved town knew me in a way I never wanted to be known.
Sweet trembling folk helped me from the car, friends who had known me for as long as I had lived here. I stepped over crunched glass and splintered wood to find a seat in the far corner, while I waited for Robert. I shrank down, listening to the chatter and whispers, some not so quiet. The city’s broadcasting system was working well. I heard voices and clips from conversations of folk wandering into the salon to inquire.
“Was anyone hurt?”
“Nope. But someone almost was.”
“It sounded like a bomb exploded.”
Laughing I heard someone say, “You must have really made her mad. What did you do to her hair?”
“Was she drunk?” I cringed.
“I don’t think so, but she could have been.”
“Who did it?”
“The pastor’s wife of that big church down the street.”
I slumped down further in the seat. They know me! Now they’ll feel terribly sorry for my husband who married the town’s drunk who crashes through unsuspecting businesses.
The jokes continued when the inspector came with his clipboard. He tossed his hat, plopped down onto a stylist’s chair, and broadcast his announcement. “I want to go on record as being the first person who had his hair cut at the town’s first drive-through hair salon.” He chuckled so loud and deep he coughed all over the stylist.
My cheeks burned. At least nobody died. Well nobody, but myself.
For me, life became “me, before the crash” and “me, after the crash.” If I had an ounce of pride before that day, it was now ground and scattered like slivers of glass all over the city, cutting away any futile argument that I wasn’t a bit touched in the head.
Once the reality of my situation settled, I laughed. What’s a woman supposed to do? Yet, I’ve discovered there are benefits to being labeled “touched” in the head. Perhaps, I’ll surprise a few folk with a clever remark now and then.
Yes, Lisa wants a new car—someone has said, “the kind that will go anywhere.”