Accidents

“Dad, I really don’t think you should be driving right now,” Leann said as Robert reached for his keys.

“Nonsense, dear, I’m fine. I’m just going to get a few things from the grocery store.”

“But Dad, you nearly caused an accident last time!”

“I know, but that was just my mind wandering, I’ll be much sharper from now on, no running reds.”

He grabbed his keys from the little blue dish they had rested in every day for the past thirty years, the one given to his wife on her birthday by an old friend who she barely remembered. He remembered when Jeanette had put the dish on the small table by the door, where it sat gathering dust for a few months. He placed his keys there one day, and when she didn’t say anything, he kept doing so.

He opened the front door, and Leann spoke up, “Please, Dad, let me drive you. I’ll get Sherry to put her bike in, and we’ll make an outing of it.”

“Leann, I am fine. I am 75 years old, my mind is as sharp as it was when I was 50, and I’m more than able to handle myself. I will not be coddled by my own children. I know you don’t get it now, but I am fine, so quit trying to stop me.”

Leann sighed. “Right, of course. Sorry Dad. Have a safe drive. See you soon.”

He harrumphed, and slammed the door on his way to the car. She hoped he would calm down as he drove.

Robert started the car, pulled the shifter on the steering wheel down to reverse. He glanced up at Leann as he backed up, and she told herself he would be fine. She was turning away when she heard a high-pitched scream and a thump. She spun back to see her father sitting in the car, a look of horror on his face. She threw the door open and ran to the car. Robert kept sitting there, so she looked behind the vehicle with a sense of dread.

Sherry sat on the grass looking at her bike, crushed by the vehicle’s back tire. Tears were streaming from her eyes, but Leann didn’t car. She ran over and grabbed her daughter, then walked to the driver’s side door.

Robert turned off the vehicle and got out, handing the keys to his daughter, his hand shaking. They walked back to the house as he apologized to the little girl, her brand new bike now a brand new chunk of twisted metal. He didn’t leave the house for the rest of the day.

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