I was waiting to make a left out of the country club’s parking lot when a black Mercedes approached with its right turn signal blinking. The driver could have been anyone—Dr. Luhrman, the Wolcotts, Mrs. Keppel with her new breasts. So many members drove black Mercedes.
The Mercedes slowed then stopped, waiting for me to turn. This confused me. I was idling at the right side of the driveway, leaving plenty of room for cars to enter the club, like I was supposed to.
The Mercedes shouldn’t have stopped. They could’ve turned into the club without waiting. I’m sure there was room. I’m sure I was far enough over. Maybe the driver thought he was doing me a favor. Maybe he was trying to be a nice guy. I made the left onto Sheridan Drive like he wanted.
It was the other car, the one behind the Mercedes, the one I didn’t see, that hit me. It whipped around Dr. Luhrman, or the Wolcotts, or Mrs. Keppel, and raced into the left-hand lane where I was turning. It smashed into me, striking my twenty-year-old Crown Victoria square between the doors. My head jerked to the right, then snapped back and hit the window. Black lights flickered.
It didn’t seem possible that I’d been hit. How many times had I made that left onto Sheridan? A hundred? Three hundred? Where had that car come from? The lane had been clear. And then it wasn’t.
I shook my head to clear it. Glass fell from my hair. The shards landed on my lap like ice chips. Ice in July. Ice that didn’t melt. Strange. It was hard to see through my spiderwebbed window, but it looked like the other driver, a woman, had been turned and thrown partially into the back. Hadn’t she been wearing her seatbelt? Why was she draped over the backseat? None of it made sense.
My door wouldn’t open. I thought it was locked then realized it was bowed inward and pressing against my side. It hurt to breathe. I crawled over the center console and out the passenger door. More glass fell from my shoulders. I leaned against the hood, steadying the world. People started to gather. The Mercedes driver wasn’t Dr. Luhrman, or a Wolcott, or Mrs. Keppel. It was somebody I didn’t recognize, but he, too, was looking in the other car’s backseat. A jogger had stopped jogging but ran in place, staring at me. Some club members wandered out, shaking their heads. Our smashed cars were blocking the driveway.
“It’s the busboy,” a golfer said.
“It’s his fault,” the jogger said. “He just pulled right out.”
Antifreeze streamed from under my car. A drop of red landed in the green. Then another. I touched my hairline. There was blood on my fingertips.
Then Dr. Luhrman hurried past, his golf shoes clicking on the cement. He didn’t look at me. The other car’s backdoor was open now and he headed there.
More people from the club had drifted outside and were taking pictures and videos of the crumpled cars, of Dr. Luhrman in action, of me standing in a green puddle, dripping blood. One of them must’ve used their phone to call the police. Sirens grew louder as they approached.
Walking to the other car was like walking through mud. Bystanders stepped back. I wanted to check the other driver, to find out why she was laying over the backseat, to ask why Dr. Luhrman wasn’t working on her. Someone should work on her. I could help. I could ease her back behind the steering wheel and press my hands against open wounds. I could brush the hair off her face, feel for broken bones, tell her it was going to be okay.
Her door opened easily, as if the hinges had been greased. The driver turned toward me. There were no cuts or bruises that I could see, no glass falling from her hair like July ice, just twin streams of mascara tears. The sirens were louder now—cops, paramedics, maybe a firetruck, their sirens bleeding into a single shrill. She turned back to where Dr. Luhrman was hunched, and I followed her gaze, the sirens shattering everything inside me, and saw the white baby shoe laying on the floorboard, the pink sock still tucked inside.