Shock is a soft blanket. You sink in without even realizing it. I’d never experienced it until two years ago when I found out that my lifelong friends – my mother’s best friend and her husband – were in a catastrophic car crash outside Saratoga Springs, New York. She was killed and he was thrown into a coma for weeks before his halting recovery began.
I’d literally known Barbara and Steve since before I was born. There was never a time they weren’t around, never a family occasion where she didn’t bring a handmade trinket or he his huge camera that hung around his neck like a particularly amazing piece of bling. One year their holiday card prominently featured his red Porsche. He loved that car. She died in it.
I was having breakfast when I found out. It was a place called Quince Café and Grill, nondescript in most ways except for its food. I always liked the basic special: eggs any way you like it, meat or fruit, your choice of bread and amazing, amazing hash browns. All for less than six bucks. I was finishing up those hash browns when I checked my email. The first thing I saw was an article about some random Saratoga Springs woman dying in a car crash. Adam had sent it to me.
We live in such damn denial. I couldn’t imagine how that article applied to me.
His next email made it clear: BARBARA WEINSTEIN WAS KILLED IN A CAR CRASH YESTERDAY. STEVE IS IN A COMA.
Excuse me. What?
My laptop felt soft and pliable beneath my fingers. I could almost sense my butt sliding off the chair. A snatch of a line I’d heard at many meditation retreats came to mind: Feel the earth under you. It is there to support you.
Fucking hippies. Bring back the dead, Buddha, then we’ll talk.