Yesterday I came as close as I’ve ever been to being involved in a car accident that (a) wasn’t my fault and (b) the outcome of which, had I not consciously decided to take a bend in the road that I’ve driven round countless times even slower than usual, would almost certainly have killed me. Not surprisingly, it got me thinking. Welcome to my first blog post of 2017.
After completing the 100 Day Writing Challenge I took a break to focus on family, Christmas and a steady and welcome stream of visiting friends and extended family. Since getting back to my desk and the onerous task of editing Book 1, I’ve been pondering the next blog post. I thought, unless there’s something to say, unless I can bring something new or interesting to the table, what would be the point? (Although am aware that given the sheer wealth of opinions, articles and blogs out there, is there truly anything new or newly interesting left to say anyway? Possibly not, but let’s not go there).
So I’ve carried on plodding on, editing and thinking, editing and thinking.
And then I nearly die.
I’m not being dramatic and I’m not exaggerating. Also, nearly dying isn’t a new thing, I know that. Lots of people nearly die. Plenty actually do die. We all will eventually. But it’s a new thing for me. So I’m going to share the experience if that’s ok, because if nothing else it’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to me all year.
It was a journey I’ve made almost daily for over nine years and I know every curve, every camber and every narrowing and widening of the four mile stretch between the A12 and Framlingham. These particular bends are notorious and I always approach them with care. But yesterday, half a mile before the bend in question, I made a conscious decision to check my speed. For reasons I still can’t fathom, I told myself to slow down even more than usual and dropped into second gear, instead of third, for the first bend which curves left and goes up a short hill. At the top of the hill the road takes a sharp 90deg to the right and it’s not uncommon to meet another car on that corner.
In one split second I spotted the black bonnet of a saloon car on the opposite side of the road. It was travelling pretty fast for someone approaching an s-bend. Within that same second I eased off the gas and the world appeared to move in slow motion as the car, instead of turning left to face me, continued at the same high speed straight ahead, cut across my lane in front of me and turned right into a side road.
I had time – and was close enough – to register an oblivious woman at the wheel and the horror on the face of a blonde woman sitting in the passenger seat as their car missed the front of mine by no more than a foot. I drive a mini convertible. Had I been one car’s length ahead of myself, she would have ploughed into the driver’s side of my car at around 40mph.
As I type this, my shoulders have begun to ache, my hands have started to clam up and an acidic nausea that I felt for most of yesterday has started to rise in my throat again. I felt it most when I saw my children’s faces after school. All carefree and happy and beaming with that Friday feeling. It’s unthinkable to imagine how their day could have ended. Same when my husband came home from work. When I texted my sister. When I met some friends for coffee. In a heartbeat so many lives could have been turned upside down. I don’t know when I’ll stop wondering what if.
But hey. The unthinkable didn’t happen. I was lucky. For so many it isn’t. So I won’t keep on about it, except to say that I’m grateful. Grateful to be here. Grateful for all the wonderful, amazing people in my life. Grateful for the opportunity to follow my dreams and write. And so, so grateful to be able to write about what could have been, rather than not being here because of what was.
Thank you for reading. Happy 2017 everyone.