Breaking and Fixing

Posted: November 30, 2011 in healing

Boyfriend and I had an interesting Thanksgiving break. All was lovely, until the return trip. We were going 60 miles an hour down the two-lane highway that leads to home, about 6:30 at night, in the rain, joking about the bad Christmas music selections available on satellite radio, when suddenly the back of the Jeep skidded and the sound of metal grating on pavement reverberated through the cab. Boyfriend stayed calm and got us off the road with no problem, where we were greeted with this:

The driver’s side rear wheel came off, bounced over a guard rail, and off into the night. Dear Jeep: Fail.

The driver behind us got off the road fine as well, and neither he nor his car were hurt. He told us he’d seen the tire fly off and bounce off the road, and while we were standing there, talking to him in the rain, with cars streaming by, we heard a crash, and turned and watched together as a dozen cars rear ended each other because they were all following too closely. We ran down the line of cars, making sure everyone was okay, while trying to explain to 911 that we were off the road, and there was an accident behind us that we were not involved in.

Twenty minutes later, I sat in the cab of the Jeep shivering and trying to stay out of the way as the first blue and red flashing lights appeared. No one was hurt, and everyone was driving slowly because the people directly behind us, who had driven past by that point, had slowed down to go around us. Not sure what else to do, I texted my brother.

“Umm…the wheel just came off the Jeep. I didn’t know that could happen,” I typed, looking for conversation.

“Holy $%*#! Are you guys okay?” he texted back almost instantly.

That surprised me a little. This is a big corner for my brother to have turned…he wouldn’t have asked a year ago. I also wouldn’t have been comfortable texting him a year ago, so this is a big step forward for both of us.

Then, another surprise: my phone rang.

“What happened?” my brother asked, and listened patiently while I tried to explain. I know nothing about cars; for him, they are almost as simple and as easily incorporated into life as breathing.

“Where are you?” His next question. I wasn’t entirely sure. About twenty miles from the next major town. Somewhere along a very dark stretch of highway that was suddenly very crowded with flashing lights and blue uniforms.

“I’m headed out there,” my brother said calmly. “I’ll be there in a little bit.”

I hung up the phone a little dazed by the reality that my brother, who I haven’t spoken too much at all for a few years now, was on his way to my rescue (which may sound melodramatic, but in the dark, in the rain, on the side of the road, I very much wanted to be rescued. Especially since I presumed the people involved in accidents behind us would be getting priority in assistance and towing). I was as little worried that boyfriend would be irritated at having another person at the scene, but I also knew that my brother would see the Jeep and know instantly what had happened. There are some things he will never need explained.

I was still huddled in the Jeep when my brother’s little white car pulled up and swung in behind us. He took one look at the damage, asked where the tire had gone, pulled out a flashlight, and hopped over the guardrail in search of it. By the time the two truck finally got to us, boyfriend and big brother were chatting about wheels and lug nuts. While boyfriend considered where to take the Jeep, big brother reassured him it would be easiest to tow it to my parents’ house, which was closer; they slipped easily into discussions of how to unload it (a forklift and a hitch were apparently necessities).

“I guess you guys don’t have a ride,” the tow truck driver sighed, noting that he had to load another car before he could leave the scene.

“Yes, you do,” my brother informed boyfriend.

By the time I was curled into the back seat of my brother’s car, it occurred to me, fully, that my family, in this instance, was coming through for me. By that time, as the Jeep was being winched onto the tow truck, mom had texted me to ask if we made it home safe.

“Actually, we’re on our way to your house…long story…” I texted back. “Hot chocolate is welcome.”

We arrived at the house in Colfax, where I have not been in a while, and where, when I am there, I usually can’t stand. Mom had hot chocolate ready, and it was nice, for a change, to just sit there and tell her what happened and not worry about anything else. This whole thing reminded me that my parents have come through, from time to time, and there are ways that I can reach out and let them support me now that I’m healthy. It might be in simple ways, like cups of hot chocolate, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The tow truck arrived and my dad and brother helped unload the battered Jeep. It felt nice knowing that in this situation, they could help. Usually it’s boyfriend’s family helping me. Not the other way around. We visited for a while, borrowed my parents’ car to make it the rest of the way home, and fell into bed about 4 hours after we should have been home.

The next morning, boyfriend asked me to text my brother and let him know we were coming over. He wanted to go search for his tire in the morning.

Big brother texted me back a picture in response: the tire, in the middle of a wheat field. He’d gone out on his own that morning and found it, and brought it back home.

So the Jeep and it’s wheel were reunited, and maybe, in a little way, I’ve started to reunite with my family. The honest truth is, I may not have my parents for much longer, and while the past was very dysfunctional and very traumatic, it’s important to start building forward now.

I’ve worked through the past, and I’ve been hurt by it all over again while I learned that I was justified in being angry over certain things. But after a certain point, looking back isn’t as important or as rewarding as looking forward. I’ll drink hot chocolate to that.


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