To the woman who almost killed me tonight
In a garden neighborhood in this small quiet town, on a warm night full of bikes and pedestrians, I was riding home on my bike, listening to my chain squeak and feeling sorry for myself.
Woman, when you barreled through that stop sign I figured you were on drugs or something because stop sign or no, you were going too fast. You did screech to a stop just in time, and I am so grateful. Your window was open, and I turned around and pulled up beside you. Though I rarely get angry at people (I get angry at things, like printers and staplers and doors) I wanted to lecture you about whatever it was that had made you so careless. But there you were with your gray hair, you in your big, loose clothing, someone's grandmother or sister. So I started in about the phone attached to your ear. "It's not on," you said, and you told me that your mind was racing with worry and you weren't paying attention. I know how that is.
Speeding woman in your lumpy dress, we have to let it go because whatever it is, it's not worth the guilt I know you would feel for the rest of your life if you'd hit me. "Well, be careful," I said, and you thanked me. Why did you thank me?
Woman, I have so much more to do before I die, yet my biggest struggle right now is starting this new chapter, and acknowledging that it is new. We don't just wake into the next thing, we transition, slowly, not in a morning but over a long block of years. And this is a very short life. You almost sped up that process for me, almost knocked me into something brand new, and now I see that there's grace in the slowness.
I hope that whoever yelled at you at work or cut in front of you in line or asked you to bake cookies for tomorrow's picnic is out of your head now, and forever.