The year is 1977. I am in the passenger seat of an old Chrysler on a very rainy day. I remember the year since my very pregnant mother; was about 2 months from giving birth to my little brother Damian. Her pregnant belly can barely fit behind the steering wheel. Dad was at work, so it’s my mother’s job to take me school before she goes to work. The heavy rain makes my six year old eyes sleepy and heavy. As my mother watches my head nodding she wakes me up and says

“Go in the backseat so you can stretch out if you want to sleep”

I don’t hesitate one bit. Off I go, climbing over the front vinyl seats to the back. In under a minute, I am laying on my stomach out cold. I wake up only because I feel my mothers hand on my back. I look at her face and she’s terrified. She won’t let me sit up. She’s screams my name while she pins me to the back seat. I don’t resist her. I can feel the car spinning. I can see the sky through the car windows and the sky is spinning too. We hit a tree. All of the windows of the car break. I have broken glass in my little afro. My mother is quiet and she isn’t moving like she was before. I can stand now so I look over to the front seat and my mothers belly is pinned under the steering wheel. I remember her looking tired like she wanted to sleep. She asks me if I am OK with a quiet voice. I say yes.

The cops show up. As they put us in the back of the police car, I notice that our Chrysler is wrapped around a tree. I also notice that the passenger seat was gone. The car hit the tree on the passenger side. The tree was in the front seat now. Exactly where I was nodding off, not a minute before Mom told me to hop in the back. The cops were rude to us. My mother wants the cop to move his seat up but they don’t hear her weak whispers. I yell at them. I am trying to speak up for her and be a little man. They move the seat up. At least the nurses where nice to me. They notified my Father. I broke down and turned back into a 6 year old when I saw him. 

Years later, In my 20’s and 30’s I was uneasy driving in the rain. I was also in denial as to why.

Now why do you think that is? Was a six year old traumatized after seeing his pregnant mother pinned under a steering wheel? Was a six year old traumatized realizing he could have been dead had his mother not told him to hop in the back? Was a six year old still trying to be my Mother’s little man until his Dad showed up?

One thing is for sure. To conquer my fear of driving in the rain, I had to ask myself those questions hundreds of times over the years. By doing so I was facing what I needed to face. I looked at fear straight in the eye and stopped pretending he wasn’t standing directly in front of me. As soon as I did, Fear looked back at me and said nothing. Then he smiled when he realize I wouldn’t look away. He then put his head down before fading away.

 

  • LaMont Anthony Wright (GB)

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