I almost got killed this morning. And no, I didn't see a movie of my life in front of my inner eye. I yelled “Oh shit!”
I was riding home at dawn from the gym. It’s typically a 12-minute bike ride with slow traffic and never more than eight cars at any given light. Is it a difficult intersection? No. An unusual one? Yes. But manageable. A.b.so.l.u.t.e.l.y. Manageable. While the bike lane continues straight, a right turn lane is carved out of the sidewalk so that any car turning right crosses my two-wheeler lane to do so. I have biked this part a hundred times and I shift into high alert right about this time every morning.
So here I am padding along as the car to my left turns on its blinker, accelerates and crosses directly in front of me to merge into the right lane. In the split second that is takes me think “Well that was ambitious!”, a silver Toyota SUV copies the maneuver and swerves hard right missing my front wheel - and life - by inches. “OH SHIT!” I slam on all the brakes at my disposal and feel like I just got punched hard in the chest.
Oh shit! My heart is pounding, my stomach tightens. Oh shit! I feel all blood draining from my face as my legs keep paddling. After I recover from the swerve that almost flattened my to the asphalt, I stop at a red light. My legs feel like they might give way and my palms are sweaty. I catch sight of the Toyota that suddenly creeps down Yonge Street, no rush in the world. I start fantasizing about catching up with him at his next light. I rip my helmet off my head and slam it in his windshield with full force. I yell at him to get the fuck out of his car. I'll drag him out if I have to. I want to ask him what he would have to say to the someone who ran his girlfriend, wife, mom, sister off the road. I want him to feel my fear. I don't care that I'm making a scene. You damn near killed me! The artery in my neck is pulsing thick as my face distorts in terror that I want him to own. As I throw my tirade at him with full force, spit and hairs flying alike, traffic backs up behind him. The scenario of a hysterical cyclist pounding her fist on the hood of a car is obvious to everyone. They judge him harshly blowing their horns to burn him with shame.
My light turns green and I am back in my body. I ride home in outward silence. I turn into our underground parking garage. I mechanically lock up, operate door switches, elevators, locks and doors. I close the bathroom door behind me and break into deep sobs. Oh shit indeed.
Anika Horn lives across North America with her family of three. For her work, she writes about social entrepreneurship and business as a force for social change. She publishes regularly on Medium and her website www.socialventurers.com
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