A Train Whistled in the Distance

“Accidents are not accidents but precise arrivals at the wrong right time.”
Dejan Stojanovic

Tonight, I turned off my television. There was no music emanating from my radio or computer. No videos played to distract me. Instead, I read a book by Chuck Palahniuk on how to write. My a/c clicked on from time to time, but for the most part my world was silent. As I read an essay, I was bombarded by the sound of a train whistle in the distance. From my second story apartment, I swear I could feel the vibration of the train cars as they glided across the tracks.

Instantly, the hair stood up on the nape of my neck, and I became acutely aware that the train whistle I heard was crossing the tracks where my accident took place on March 12, 2014. I could feel the cold from that night, and when I exhaled I swore I could see my breath. My heart raced and I could feel everything from that night. The impact of the crash and my body being thrown all over the car. My foot slipping off the brake that I’d jammed to the floor to keep from running into the back of a bus. The delicate skin around my ankle bone sliced open and laid bare to the bone. How helpless I felt, and broken.

The blood trickled down my face from the cut on my forehead. The skin on my left arm burned because of the powder from the deployed airbags. I was bruised and my right hand was laid open with a cut that required stitches. My head hit the windshield and I blacked out. I was almost dizzy with excitement when I came to, and then slid into the welcoming abyss of shock.

I screamed to anyone that could hear, ‘GET ME OUT!’

I was acutely aware of my surroundings as I touched the windshield where a hank of my hair had been pulled out. I think I even told one of the rescue workers to look at it. I’m sure they thought I was crazy. I remembered asking the bus driver if he and the passengers were all right. I don’t even think I was wearing a coat.  I smelled blood, powder, burning rubber, and adrenaline. My vision went yellow and green, but I had no idea why.

In one coherent moment, I texted Roger that I’d been in an accident. I was so damn cold. The ambulance drivers had to pull me out of my car. Or maybe it was the fire department, I’m not sure. I begged for pain meds and for someone to miraculously fix my foot. I thought for sure I’d torn the damn thing off. The pain was so bad, and recovery so slow that I sometimes wished I had.

Train whistles used to make me smile. They reminded me of when Mom would send Sis and me on the Amtrak to go visit our grandparents in Battle Creek every summer. I hope I find serenity again, from that train whistle in the distance, and  the clack, clack, clack of the metal wheels on polished tracks.


11 thoughts on “A Train Whistled in the Distance

    • I wonder why that is? Was it a defense mechanism? Or maybe the scrambling of our brains as they jostled around our heads. At least we are still hear to tell the tales. Right?


  1. It’s the oddest thing to relive a moment in time with such clarity. Smells often do that with me for the briefest of times but the whole event recaptured in feelings and memories.
    For those times when the memory evoked is an unpleasant one it is such a shake but does make you wonder whether, as in the opening quote, there are no accidents as such but events that unfold for reasons we may only guess at until much later. Sometimes a wake up call. Food for thought here.
    I’m glad you recovered from such a trauma.x

    • Hello Love,

      I’m of the belief that everything happens for a reason. I have had such moments of clarity and catharsis during these almost 90 days. I’ve been floored by the work I’ve been able to accomplish, even while trying to recuperate. All of the calls I’ve had to make. The details that need to be dealt with. With insurances, and doctor visits. Even a simple trip to the grocery story is an event. I believe God helped me realize that I need to stop with the impulsiveness that has ruled me for the last 9 months. It’s time to be a grown up and learn to love my own company.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my post.


      • I’m so glad there has been a positive aspect to this experience. Often it’s not until much later we see any reason.
        You won’t be wanting to grow up too much though….God loves his little children. 🙂 x

  2. I’m glad you got through that tragic day, Renee, and hopefully, the train whistles will make you smile again, thinking only of your fun trips on Amtrak…very well written, though! You had me on the edge of my seat!

    • Hello sweetheart,

      I did get through it, that’s for sure. When I get down, I remind myself that it could have been worse. I am not dead. I’ve learned how very strong I am.

      Thanks for the kind comment about my post. I’m honored you liked it.


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