The traffic was swiftly moving across the Tappan Zee Bridge. I had reached the bridge in under an hour, making great time on this cloudy afternoon. This commute is a crapshoot, and you never know what traffic you may hit when. This was a good day, moving along to the Thruway at great speed. I may get home at a reasonable hour today.
The cramp started slowly, as more of a twinge. I could feel the twinge begin to grow, beginning in the arch of my driving foot and moving through the foot and my toes. At this point I am flying at almost 70 miles per hour hour heading to the Garden State Parkway. I screamed in pain as I felt my toes lock, especially the big toe of my right foot. I knew I could not keep driving with my foot deformed and unable to move much. I had ankle strap shoes on, very cute but not conducive to coming off easily as I drove. The pain was halfway up my calf when I pulled into the rest area as soon as you cross into New Jersey.
My car careened into the first parking space I saw and the door opened before I made a complete stop. I leaped out of the car and immediately worked to remove my black high heeled sandal. I stepped onto the cool cement with my bare right foot trying to work the cramp out. As quickly as it came on, it was gone. I jumped back in the drivers seat and quickly drove out of the rest area. That was painful but quick, I thought and I merged back onto the highway.
I was still making great time, that few minutes didn’t seem to change the flow of traffic. I figured I would be home by 8:15pm at the latest, 2 1/2 hours home was great time. My long drives to and from Connecticut are always better when I get to talk with a friend so I called one. We were catching up on life when I saw brake lights. Lots and lots of brake lights.
I slowed to a complete stop. I was now one of the brake lights, with my car in park. I was in the left lane with nowhere to go, not that anyone was going anywhere. We were stuck. I heard sirens and watched the Clark fire truck drive on the right shoulder to bypass the parking lot of cars. Next was a Cranford police car, state troopers, and Clark and Cranford ambulances. This was not good. I looked on my Waze App to see what was happening ahead of me and if there was a way to get off the highway. It was just about 8pm. Multiple people reported a 5 car accident about 2 miles ahead of me.
I was describing the scene to my friend Nancy and told her it was only 2 miles ahead of me. I realized as I said that out loud that by the grace of God, I was about 2 minutes behind the accident. Two minutes were the difference between me sitting in miles of traffic and me potentially being in that accident. I told Nancy that had I not pulled over for two minutes to deal with a foot cramp, that could have been me. Those two minutes of feeling silly that something as mundane as a Charlie horse caused me to actually pull over and yet may have kept me from injury or worse. As the Charlie horse happened I debated in my head, pull over or suck it up. The pain won. Now I know why. It could have changed my life or worse.
I have heard many stories of unusual situations that kept people safe from harm, missing a flight or a train that then crashes. I remember very well during 9/11, hearing the chairman of Cantor Fitzgerald saying he wasn’t in the World Trade Center that morning as it was his son’s first day of kindergarten. He spoke of divine intervention, a reason he was spared. An angel watching over him. I don’t believe I ever suspected or felt this before this night.
There was a death that evening. One person wasn’t going home that evening or ever again.
At that moment, I too realized that a guardian angel was hovering over my shoulder, looking out for me. It was sobering and made waiting 3 hours bearable. I would get home that evening, someone else was not.
Two minutes that could have changed life forever, thwarted by an Angel disguised as a cramp.
And I’m eternally grateful for that 2 minute delay!! Love you, my friend. xo
Sent from my iPhone
This is such a great reminder to be thankful for life’s detours! So glad you are safe 🙂
I have chills all through my body reading this story! You’re needed here! Your life is blessed!
And by the way, I see you using your new writing skills of fleshing out details. Sounds great, using your own voice and telling YOUR story, which is natural to you.
On Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 6:30 PM, themorningbutterfly wrote:
> Suzy posted: “The traffic was swiftly moving across the Tappan Zee Bridge. > I had reached the bridge in under an hour, making great time on this cloudy > afternoon. This commute is a crapshoot, and you never know what traffic you > may hit when. This was a good day, moving ” >