Why Crossing the Street Frightens Me
A Writer’s Book of Days (01/10) – Write About A Wound
It was a beautiful summer day, so I decided to ride my bike to the youth meeting at church instead of getting driven. Being 14, cocky, and vain, I didn’t wear a helmet. (And it was the last time I’d ride a bike without one.)
Not only was I not wearing a helmet, but blatantly disregarding the rules of the road by pedaling on the left side of the street and on the sidewalk. I pulled my bike up the intersection of Islip Avenue and Main Street, a busy intersection in my town. There was a driver ready to make a right turn on red. It looked like he was going to go, so I waved him on, even though I technically had right-of-way. He then waved me on.
We both went at the same time.
His car hit me on the left side, throwing me into oncoming traffic on Main Street. Luckily, I wasn’t hit by another car, but my bicycle was folded in half. I got up, shaken and bleeding from my left elbow. I hadn’t broken anything, but I was pretty scraped up and dirty. A woman, who had been waiting at the intersection, allowed me to call Mom from her car phone. (If that doesn’t place this in the ’90s, I don’t know what does).
The police showed up, but I refused medical treatment. I was more embarrassed than hurt by the accident at that time, particularly because I was partially to blame by not following the rules. The driver was 18 years old and had just gotten his license a few weeks earlier. He sat on the curb, shaking and chain smoking.
It took quite a while for my elbow to heal. I have slight scarring from it, but it’s not that noticeable if you didn’t know where to look. I also had a giant purple and yellow bruise from my left shin to my breastbone.
The biggest wound it left, though, was a psychological one. I’m very frightened by vehicular traffic, particularly if I’m walking or biking (and even while following the rules). It often annoys other people, because I take a much longer time to cross the street than most people. I won’t cross until I’m 100% sure a car’s not going to shoot out from somewhere and hit me, even if it’s obvious to other people. I’m getting better and more daring (at least to myself), but it’s still something that bothers me to this day.