My grade school mind raced as I stared out of the back passenger car window. Last night’s Mission Impossible episode was so cool that I projected spy like perspectives into my view. I scanned the surroundings and determined that the parked car across the street from the gas station pump where we sat was more than just a car. Something was about to happen and I needed to figure it out before…
Dad opened the car door and leaned over toward mom. She had the vacation cash for the trip and he needed money to pay the gas station attendant. But I didn’t let that distraction take me away from the adventure at hand. I had to piece together the puzzle before it was too late.
As dad walked into the station, I focused on the car across the street. Had it been abandoned with a bomb planted in it? Or, was it filled with drugs and dropped off for a later pick up? National security needed my best speculation and I had to figure it out before my dad returned to the car. Maybe the car was placed there as a deterrent to block someone’s movement until a hitman could take him out?
The sound of a motorcycle revved into my view from the far right side. I knew in an instant the man was about to be taken out. In my periphery I could see my dad exiting the gas station counting his change. His timing couldn’t be better.
I fixed my eyes on the motorcyclist as he zip through the intersection and headed straight for the parked car. I braced for the impact, knowing that he would be shot by a sniper and taken out before he could steer around the car.
My eyes widened as I watched the motorcycle ram into the back end of the car. The cyclist was tossed over the car and onto the street. The thud of the impact made my stomach feel nauseous, as I watched the man bounce twice on the pavement. When his body came to a stop he was motionless. I had just witnessed a motorcycle accident and I wondered if the man was dead.
I was startled as my dad’s car door opened. I pointed across the street and told him that a motorcycle had just crashed. My dad turned to see the mangled cycle. His head slowly moved in the direction of traffic and spotted the man on the pavement. He immediately shouted to the gas attendant to call the police and report the accident.
Dad stuck his head in the window and asked mom to pull the car to the side to clear the pumps for the next customer, while he helped clear the traffic until the police arrived. The traffic was becoming congested with gawkers.
The sound of my dad’s police whistle resounded in the area and cars immediately obeyed his waved directions. Being dressed in his weekend clothes didn’t matter, as all drivers respected the authority he commanded. The first police car arrived and one of the officers took over the directing of traffic.
My mom instructed us not to look at the horrible sight, as the thought of death was making her stomach queasy and she didn’t want us to experience anything bad. She even tried to involve us in singing happy songs, but all I could do was wonder how my make believe was perfectly timed with the devastating crash.
What were the odds? Could a grade schooler’s mind impact reality?
My mind was flooded with questions and thoughts about the moment, which may have saved me from the realization that I had just witnessed a man’s death. The experience was terrible and no one in the family ever brought it up again except for me. I had to share how my dad put our vacation on hold long enough to help the local police.
Having watched a real crash at such a young age altered my perception of motorcycles. While I could handle driving mini-bikes on a camping trail later in my youth, I could never bring myself to driving a motorcycle on the street. Nor was I comfortable twenty years later losing two friends to motorcycle accidents. I also struggled when my cousin had to make life changing adjustments after his motorcycle accident made him a paraplegic.
The odd thing about all of these motorcycle accidents was that not one of them happened to me, yet my emotions took a significant hit each time.
But what ever happened to that man? Did he feel a rush as his body was tossed over the car? Did he feel the intense pain of his landing on the pavement? When his body bounced a second time, did his spirit bounce out of his body like in the movies?
These questions filled my grade school mind well into my teen years and beyond, with no available source to provide the answers. It was a hard lesson to realize that some questions never get answered. And most accidents never bring closure. In this case, I never learned why the man drove straight into a parked car as if he never saw it.