The accident happened in a blink. So fast that I can’t even remember exactly what happened. I was suddenly over on the side of the road, trying to catch my breath.
I reached over and turned off my music, then looked at myself in the rear-view mirror. I appeared physically fine, but was severely rattled. Nothing inside me hurt. It seemed to have been a somewhat small fender bender. The other driver was probably drunk and swerved when they tried to pass me, dinged my car and took us off the road. The biggest inconvenience was going to just end up being getting home 20 minutes later than I was previously. I wasn’t even going to ask to exchange insurance unless something was seriously wrong with my car.
Starting to recover, I began to develop a plan. I didn’t have cell phone service in this particular strip of forested highway, but I was pretty sure I could dial out to 911 if the other driver was hurt or too drunk to drive.
That plan would not get off the ground though. My thought process was interrupted by a soft tap on my driver’s-side window.
I screamed and recoiled from my door in a panic.
Peering in my window was a tall man with a well-manicured brown beard and close set eyes.
“Are you okay?” The man asked through the wet glass of the window.
I took a second to catch my breath. The eerie tap shocked me, but the look in the man’s eye looked genuinely concerned. He actually looked a lot like my dad. Late-50s, rugged and weathered. The kind of older man who appeared to be permanently tired and always drinking a coffee or can of beer.