our little secret


Downtown Denver

I’m about to tell you a secret. But only if you promise not to laugh. And only if you don’t tell my friends on facebook.

Last Friday night I went to friend’s wedding in Denver, Colorado. Last Friday night, five minutes before the ceremony started, I totaled my rental car — right in front of the wedding venue.

It was one of those days when, up until that moment, everything seemed to be going well. I’d caught up with an old friend the night before and run a decent 7.5 miles in downtown Denver earlier that day. It was beautiful out, and I was proud of myself for making the trip. (The bride, Jen, is one of my oldest friends, and though Denver isn’t next door to Tennessee, her wedding was something I couldn’t miss.) I even managed to get ready on time and felt pretty in my dress. (Sadly, this is not always the case.) My only concern as I approached the venue that evening, then, was . . . parking.

The wedding was at a beautiful art gallery in downtown Denver. The gallery didn’t have a parking lot, though, and so the closer I got (thank you, Siri), the more I started looking for street-side parking. And the more I started looking for street-side parking, the greater at risk I (apparently) became for making a mistake.

I made a mistake.

I entered an intersection crossing a one-way street without seeing a stop sign — or the oncoming traffic. In fact, I never saw it. In the blink of an eye my world went from silence and Siri to screeching breaks, crunching metal, ssss-ing smoke, and inanity inside my head. Oh my god, oh my god . . . What just happened?

When my car came to a halt in the middle of the road (right beside the venue), I was in shock. The rental car, the rental car, the rental . . . Jen’s wedding is starting, Jen’s wedding is starting — I looked at the clock — in seven minutes. This can’t be real; this can’t be . . . Oh no, oh no, oh no. In all my life and seventeen years of driving, I had never been in a “real” car accident until that moment. I had no idea what to do.

A crowd had gathered on the sidewalks. People, many of whom were involved in the wedding, were calling out to me. “Are you okay?” Their voices came as if from within a fog. Finally a man in street clothes caught my attention; he made a downward motion with his hands and pointed to my window. “Oh- ohhh.” I suddenly understood. The front end of the car was gone, but my power windows still worked. I rolled mine down.

“Are you okay?” he asked, concerned.

“Ye-, yes, I’m okay.”

“Can you walk?”

“Ye-,” I nodded.

“You might want to get out. The car is leaking fluids pretty badly.”

“Ohh . . .” I was barely functioning.

“Can you put the car in neutral? Maybe we can push it to the side of the road?”

I put the car in neutral and got out and watched as several men pushed it across the road. I was mortified.


On the tow truck.

Things got worse before they got better. I’d been hit by a red Ford F150. After hitting me, the truck had spun sideways across the road and suffered significant damage. A rear tire was blown. The front end looked like it’d been mauled. The driver was on his cell phone on the sidewalk, and at first I thought we were the only ones involved. When I finally had enough sense to walk over towards him, however, I saw that two other cars had also been hit. A Mercedes sat beside the road with its rear end smashed in. The car in front of it had been damaged, too. Someone said that they belonged to people involved in the wedding. Ohh nooo . . . Then someone said they belonged to the groom’s parents. OH NOOOO!!!!

I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

But I was freezing. While the police reports were filed and phones calls made and insurance information exchanged, the sun had gone down. Colorado is cold at night in November, and I hadn’t been prepared to stand out in it in my dress. The driver of the truck was very kind and offered me his coat. “That truck is my baby; I’d just put new tires on it,” he mused. “But it’s okay; they’re called ‘accidents’ for a reason. I’m just glad everyone’s okay.”

I couldn’t accept his coat, though. Not after what I’d just done. I shivered instead.

I missed the wedding — watched the kiss from outside the gallery’s clear glass windows — and called the rental car company to report the incident and request a tow during the reception. Friends and loved ones gave me rides home and to the airport the next morning, and at the end of the day, I knew I should be thankful things weren’t worse: medical bills on top of insurance deductibles would just about break me right now. But sometimes it’s hard to be thankful; sometimes you just wish you could turn back time. My pride was wounded, and my mistake had caused great misfortune to others. Even now, trying to retell my story, my eyes well up with tears — and I don’t cry.

Next up: This one will be for you, Sreejit. I’ll email you!

A few pics from Denver and the wedding:


26 thoughts

  1. scary! you must be so shaken up. sorry to read about the acccident, but i’m so thankful you and the other drivers/passengers were not injured. it sounds like it could’ve been worse. may God be near to you in your times of discouragement, may He carry your burdens and take your anxiety away. so glad you’re ok Jess!

    • Thank you, Soapie. Yes… I’m glad no one was injured, too. That would have made it even worse. I was shaken up, but once the initial shock was over, I was mostly frustrated that the event had happened in the first place…

      It’s nice to hear from you. I just looked at your blog. Seems like you took a blogging break this year, too! Sometimes writing is hard, isn’t it?

      • yah! i havent blogged in awhile but i’m thinking it’s time to start back up again! i don’t have a good memory when i don’t write, so i want to be more diligent in blogging again. yes writing is soo hard!

      • Writing just takes a lot of creative energy for me, and often it’s energy I don’t have to give. But I love it and find that the more I do it, the more I want to do it… Glad we’re both starting up again at the same time! :)

  2. I am so sorry to read this. I am glad you weren’t hurt and the only damage was to a favorite truck and a few other pieces of metal. I won’t tell a soul, and I’m not laughing.

  3. Glad to hear you’re okay! I’m also impressed with the trucker’s attitude–and his most-kind gesture. I hope the other folks fared well, walking away from their car crashes. It sounds like you might have some gnarly energy churning around ya?…I hope you’re re-evaluating your life/energy and wish you the best. Only attract the *positive* and *constructive*….

    • Yes, I was grateful to the trucker. He was kind and showed me that there are still good people in this world. And yes… I’ve definitely had my fair share of negative or challenging circumstances in the last few years. I just moved to Knoxville to try to improve my lot, but as the saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ve been well. :)

      • I have been, thanks for asking! Jessica…you’ll do fine…just keep moving forward and reminding yourself to only attract positive and constructive energy! It may take “a while” to “air out the house,” so to speak, but if you continue with your intent things should change for you. I wish you peace!

  4. I echo what everyone else has said – that you are okay and everyone else are okay too. From the photos, it looked like you managed to catch up with the bride? Hopefully everyone enjoyed the occasion. So sorry to hear you couldn’t watch the ceremony. But, all’s well, ends well :)

  5. What a sad and amazing story Jessica! I do hope you are ok.. It is something, when accidents happen how fast they happen. Thanks for sharing the story. Love your dress. Slow down! :-)

    • Thank you! Yes, accidents are scary. Reminders that things can change in the blink of an eye, and to slow down and take nothing for granted. I’m fine, thank goodness. :)

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