To the White Sports Car Driver

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Photo by Marcy Ayres
Photo by Marcy Ayres

To the White Sports Car Driver:

I was 20 years old. It was a Sunday, one of my glorious days off from my then job as a preschool teacher. I was driving home, music on, and windows open, with a minivan full of charity donations, defeated after arguing with my then-boyfriend. It was only one of many we’d had that day; they seemed so endless.

You were in a white sports car; I will always remember it, but only as a blur. I was trying to move over, to let faster cars pass me. You were tired of waiting, speeding well over 90 mph in a 55 mph zone. You didn’t care about blinkers, and by the time we moved into the same lane you had barely missed the front of my car. In an attempt to get out of your way, I overcorrected; the minivan spun, hit the barrier, and flipped over. Moments before my window was symbol of freedom, was my own undoing.

I looked at my arm as I hung upside down, the rest of me saved by the seatbelt now bruising my entire ribcage. I didn’t recognize it. What was all that skin? Weirdly, I felt blissful, euphoric. People later told me I went into immediate shock. Calmly, I told my screaming then-boyfriend, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”

5 years later, I know I meant it.

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Photo by Denisse Benitez
Photo by Denisse Benitez

I was saved that day by a total stranger, an off-duty EMT who whipped his belt off and made a tourniquet around my arm. The doctors who treated me said that a miraculous number of forces conspired that day to make sure I would be able to use my hand again. Had the EMT not been on the scene, had the cut been one literal millimeter deeper… I would have lost too much blood or severed the nerve that controls hand function. There were more forces at work, forces that miraculously prevented everyone else involved from being injured. It was just me and my arm, hanging in the balance.

20 surgeries later I emerge, scarred, but swinging. It was a gross process, involving a myriad of painful medical procedures, wound cleaning, and grueling physical therapy. To this day I can’t play the piano, an instrument I learned at age 5. I can’t play the guitar in my dream girl band, a personal goal I had started making moves towards. I can’t bend my hands backwards for push-ups or yoga, or hold heavy items.

What I can do is kick ass at my day job, as a graphic designer for Gypsy Warrior. I can hug my incredible, supportive boyfriend, the one who calms me down when I feel the blackness of depression creeping in around the edges, who holds my scarred hand proudly. I can walk my dog, who doesn’t know or care that his mom has a strange malady. I can paint and draw, and I do it pretty well. Well enough that I can be paid for it. Well enough to love doing it. I can drive my car after years of being too terrified to even sit inside of one.

You never even stopped. Of all the people who pulled over to help, you weren’t one of them. For years it plagued me, and I was livid. But now sometimes I think about what could have been so important. Maybe you were on the way to the same hospital I wound up at. Maybe someone you loved had just passed away or given birth. Maybe there was some unspeakable emergency you had to tend to that caused you to go 50 mph over the speed limit with nary a care in the world. Maybe you were just an asshole.

In any case, I’m thanking you now. I may be disfigured to some, but mostly the reactions I hear are ones of praise. These aren’t my sad scars, they’re my war wounds. I have fought and I won. When I wore a cast and a splint and a wound vacuum I fought. When I wore a suffocating girdle for a week, even to bed, because I needed liposuction and a skin graft to replace the fat in my arm I fought. When changing the bandages was so painful that I blacked out, still I fought.

But truly, for all my fighting, it was you who created me. You caused the flames that I had to rise from. On days where my arm hurts so badly that I feel like crawling out of my skin, or times where the urge to take so many pain pills is overwhelming, I remember you: a ghost in a speeding sports car. A complete stranger who decided my overturned vehicle wasn’t even worth a passing glance. I will not let you beat me.

You’ve made me tough, strong, and optimistic that every single day will be one worth living. You’ve made me end a terrible, abusive relationship in favor of an amazing one, because life is too short for settling. You’ve made me realize that if I don’t do it, someone else will.

The world spins madly on whether you want it to or not. And now, thanks to you, I’m used to the chaos.

Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.

Photo by Denisse Benitez
Photo by Denisse Benitez

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Corinne even made this super cute desktop wallpaper. Click on the image to download! If you'd like to download the wallpaper for your phone, click HERE.

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PINKY_SWEAR_WALLPAPER

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To learn more about Corinne visit her site BLACKDRESSWILDHEART