I’m haunted by my own screams today. A few times an hour, I’m running across that street again, a primal noise unlike any I’ve ever made coming out of me. My screaming had some benefit — it got the driver’s attention and it alerted everyone around to pay attention and call 911.
But that’s not what I was thinking when I was screaming. I was thinking, “No, not this, this is it, there he goes, no no no, what if he dies, how can he survive did he go under the tire? This is the horrible thing I’ve always known would happen There he is, he’s alive he’s alive, get him out of there BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP I can’t get him out!”
It all comes back to me, at least twice an hour. I haven’t timed it of course, but that’s my estimate. It all starts with the sound of my screaming in my own head. I’ve never screamed like that before, and I hope I never have to again. But the sound keeps reverberating in my head when I least expect it. Sometimes I sob and sob if I let myself be in that moment again. Sometimes I push it down. I know it’s good to cry and let it out, but it doesn’t really leave (so why is it called “letting it out?”) and I just can’t cry all the time any way.
I can only imagine what Anna was thinking when she heard me screaming. I’ve tried to get her to talk about it, but I don’t know how to draw her out. She says she wants to forget about it all. I wish I could, but I know none of us can (I am seeking professional help for all of us, BTW). She asked me why I won’t be able to forget, and we talked about how I also can’t forget the time when she was about a year and half old, and she fell down all 16 of our hardwood stairs. I yelled, “ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA!” as she tumbled down, me trying to catch up to her, wishing my voice would wrap around her little body and stop her fall. I think the force of my screams stopped that car on Saturday, and kept it from killing my son. I just wish they’d stop replaying in my head.