I am wedged diagonally across the drivers seat of my car. My left wrist is squirting a small fountain of blood. My tongue is lacerated in several places, my knees are swollen and stuck between the steering wheel and dash and I cannot breathe.
Through my window I see a teenage girl get out of the car that just turned in front of me. She looks scared but fine. She walks to the other side of her car and is speaking to someone inside. I am still not breathing. She goes to speak with some people gathering on the side of the highway. After some time they glance at my car but nobody comes over. I wonder why they don’t come. It would be good if they could open my door for me. I am very hot and I am not breathing.
I think of my children. I want to breathe so they do not have to endure this loss. I think of my mom. I want to breathe so she doesn’t lose her daughter and grandson within a months time. I think of Noah . . . I want to breathe.
I realize I may not breathe. I smirk. I remember I have held my breath for 3 and half minutes just for fun. I’ve got another minute or so. I’ll figure it out.
The girl is now on her cell phone. She guiltily glances at my car as she speaks.
I give all of my energy to changing my position. With my squirting arm, I push myself up a bit and find a miracle. I suck in one tiny breath. I focus. If I can do that again I can spend more time with my family.
I do it.
Searing, throbbing, stabbing pain takes over my chest, back and neck. I am now sitting alone in my car smiling. I am giddy with hope.
I have the most powerful revelation of my life.
I am absolutely not what I do. I have just been given the greatest gift; the knowledge that this vessel and this vessel’s accomplishments do not define me. I can’t wait to discover what life opportunities are waiting for me.
Minutes pass, the girl is hesitantly walking toward my car. She stops 5 feet away and weakly asks, are you OK?
I don’t have enough breath to answer but I smile broadly…
I am better than ever!
(Annetta Lucero is at home in Puna, recovering from the described collision at the intersection of Highway 130 and Kahakai Boulevard. She has a broken sternum, damaged ribs, a collapsed lung, shattered knee caps and other injuries.)