she stood on the side of the road in the cold december rain trying to decide
what she should do. her brother's house was probably only a few miles up the road. she could walk there.
but, if she did would she be leaving the scene of an accident? and if she left the scene of an accident would it make things worse? did it really matter one way or the other? if it really mattered where she was shouldn't they be trying to find her? she wished now that she had thought to take the cell phone from the glovebox, this was, after all, an emergency...
she moved back toward her rescuers meaning to borrow one of their phones, but they were both discussing conserving their batteries in case they would need to call for a pick up later. instead she mentioned her possible U-Turn.
"i saw no car." said one to the other. "just a fish tailing semi. did you?" the angel in white responded; "nope. i saw no car until we were evacuating. semi driver didn't mention it either. why?"
she started to explain; "because the man whose drive i was going to turn into said he thought i was going to make a U-Turn but i don't remember. don't know what i'm supposed to be doing now..." and then, as if on cue, a man in uniform passed by in the darkness. "wait!" she called. "i have no idea what i am supposed to be doing." the man in uniform stopped and told her she was to wait with the others until they were transported elsewhere or were cleared to return to their home and started to walk on.
she protested; "but i don't live here. i was driving the other car."
"what other car?" he asked. "i'm not sure what you mean."
"i'm not either." she said; "but i was told the semi hit me and i was the other driver."
"the semi hit you?"
"yes sir, i think so. at least that is what i was told. but i don't remember."
"come with me."
he escorted her to his car, an unmarked suburban, helped her into the back seat, secured her seat belt, shut her door, and climbed into the front seat. "can you tell me what happened?" he asked.
she relayed the events leading up to pulling ahead of the drive so the car behind her could pull in. he radioed some else, told him that 'evidently' there had been another driver. a female whom he would be bringing to him.
a few minutes and several blocks later she was transferred from the back of the suburban to the back of a patrol car. the door was shut but the interior lights remained on. she recognized the officer in the patrol car, it was the same officer who'd barked at them on the road where she'd been removed from her car. he asked for her drivers license. oddly enough she'd somehow thought to grab her purse from the floor of her car after she'd gotten out. again she wished she'd thought to grab the phone. she fished her licence out and handed it to him. he asked her name. her address. her age. her social security number. what kind of car she was driving. what color it was. if there were any passengers. where she was going...
she answered all of his questions in turn.
and then he asked her the only question she couldn't answer; what had happened. again she relayed the events leading up to pulling ahead of the drive so the car behind her could pull in.
"and that is when you pulled out in front of the semi correct?" he asked.
"i don't recall pulling out, only ahead." she answered.
"you must have pulled out in front of the semi at some point."
"all i know is that i missed my brothers road. i wanted to turn around in a driveway. it was the driveway of the person behind me. i pulled ahead."
"so that would be why you made a U-Turn in front of the semi." he said.
she couldn't remember. she felt pressed for information she didn't have and simply repeated the same thing again. because it truly was all that she knew.
still he persisted; "i have a witness. she tells me that you made a U-Turn in front of the semi."
she felt like she was in a movie wherein they force you to admit to something you don't know. but this was real life. this was her life. and she honestly could not remember. if she could she certainly wouldn't lie.
"i don't recall making a U-Turn." she finally answered.
"again." he said, his voice stern. "i have a witness."
"if you have a witness that says i made a U-Turn i will have to believe i made a U-Turn, because i don't remember." [in retrospect this was a very big mistake]
"you don't remember." he said in a tone far less like a question than a taunt.
"no sir i don't remember."
"if you don't remember you must have been unconscious..."
definite sarcasm, she thought, but responded appropriately; "i could have been. i don't know. i really cannot remember anything other than what i told you. i wish i could. not for your sake, but for my own."
"if you say you don't remember i will have to take you to that ambulance across the street and they will examine you thoroughly. are you prepared for that?"
definitely a threat, but she had no reason that she knew of to be afraid. "yes sir. i am prepared for what ever it takes."
"well then, lets go." he challenged as if she would change her mind.
when she didn't he exited his door and opened hers. for some reason she expected she would be handcuffed before she was removed from the vehicle but she was not. he did however hold tight to her arm. for this she was suddenly glad because she found walking was difficult once she had been taken from the car.
she could see two ambulances parked across the road with several other emergency vehicles. slowly they made their way across the empty parking lot toward them. they stopped at the road to allow a van to pass.
but the van stopped and the driver rolled down his window.
"what's going on?" he asked.
"just move along." the officer responded.
"but, that is my sister."
"this is your sister?"
"yes sir, it is. what's happening?"
she looked up. it was her brother. "i think i was hit by a semi. i'm being taken to the ambulance across the street" she said.
"holy shit! let me park my van and i'll stay with you."
he was told where he could park and that he could meet his sister at the ambulance and then the officer put a voice to her thoughts; "because; after all, what are the chances of this happening?"