Ironically, it was this step backward that placed me in the most danger I had been in throughout the whole incident. Whoever was driving the car suddenly had their “Holy Crap, I just hit a pedestrian” moment. Or maybe the moment was triggered by the passengers who were probably having their own collective panic attacks. It didn’t matter. Someone’s foot slammed down on the gas and the six cylinders of bloodthirsty death again roared forth, dragging the rest of the chassis along at me once again. I jumped backward to avoid the dented fender headed directly at my right knee. Off balance, I tottered back and forth for a second before collapsing onto my butt on the sloping grassy hill that had cushioned my fall a moment before. Stupefied, I stared at the streaking red headlights disappearing over the slight rise ahead.
I considered leaping to my feet, placing all of my remaining energy into my legs, and running down the car at the next stoplight, pulling the driver out of the window, and pummeling him ruthlessly in retribution for nearly killing me. Becoming a vigilante of justice seemed like a good idea for a second. I thought the idea might not be totally crazy and have some merit. I knew that the next stoplight was less than a tenth of a mile away, just beyond my field of vision. I knew that it was always inevitably red. I also knew that the light always stubbornly stayed red for at least six minutes before reluctantly switching over to green. And, I knew that I could easily cross the distance, catch the car at the light, and give the driver a handsome beat-down because I was that angry.
My heart was still thumping in staccato rib-cracking “glad to be alive” beats. The air around me was crackling with the rage that was bleeding out of my soul. Absently, I waived my gritty left hand over my right arm and felt the blast furnace heat of my anger. It was unquestionable. Everything that was good and decent in my mind was being consumed by hatred. I was going to get up any second, and head up the street, and consummate all sorts of unspeakable deeds. And just as that thought crossed my mind, somewhere off to my left, a finger reached out and poked me in the arm.
“Hey….guy.” The voice that was attached to the finger said. “Are you ok? I – we saw the whole thing – and – do you need help? You’ve just kind of been sitting here for ten minutes after it all happened.”
I looked down. The scrapes had mildly clotted. There was a persistent pounding in my head. And the damndest thing was that while I was frustrated about everything, the dormant anger had disappeared light years away without doing any harm.
“Hello?” The voice said, prodding me again. “You there? You seemed to go all catatonic for a second. Someone went to call for help, so…”
“Stop poking me.” I said instantly. I stood up and looked around. There was a small gaggle of people surveying me from the relative safety of the sidewalk. The prodder was a prematurely balding guy. “No, don’t call the police. I’m just going to go home. I’m fine.” That, I thought, was all the conversation that was really needed.
“Wait!” He said, following me, unsure. “Should you even be walking? What about broken bones? What about brain trauma? What about a police report?”
“What about it?” I growled, now tired of his Good Samaritan vibe. “I was too busy to get a license plate number because I was a little preoccupied. I don’t have any broken bones. And my brain is as good as it gets, because I’m talking to you.”
“Oh.” He said, crestfallen. “I didn’t get the plate either. But you got hit by a car! And survived! That should count for something! I mean, that’s tough…”
At this point my concussion tuned him out. Somehow, we exchanged phone numbers. A week later, I received a call from him. I didn’t remember him, or his name, until he related almost all of the conversation. I then grudgingly acknowledged that I had some loose memory fragments about our meeting, and asked bluntly why he had called. At first, he gave me the run-around, but eventually, he admitted that he was the Captain of the school lacrosse team and that he needed “tough hombres” like me for his team. I thought about telling him where he and his team could go, but because of the lingering head trauma, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. A week later, I attended my first practice; and a week after that, I was buying used equipment out of a van, despite never having played lacrosse ever in my life. It was a decision that did what the accident could not do: destroy my routine.