I grew up in a small town in Wyoming. Everything was within walking or biking distance, so I would walk or ride my bike to school every day even in the bitterest cold. At the time I was in a play and had to be at school early for rehearsal because everyone was generally involved in one hundred other activities after school to alleviate the boredom. I actually think the rehearsals were TWO hours before school started because I had jazz band at 7AM before regular band at eight.
Anyway, it's relevant because it was dark. I was riding my bike to school and no one else was on the road. The roads were wide and well lit, and snow was falling gently. The good, fluffy kind. Very rare. I was the first person to make tracks in the snow. It was still just a thin layer on the road, not really enough to make it slick, so I was having a blast riding right in the middle of the street rather than on the edge or on the sidewalk, zigzagging and looping around. Dawdling. It was a gorgeous morning/night. It was dead quiet. I never appreciated how quiet that town could be until I left.
I came to the intersection just before the schools. The library on my left. The police station on my right. I stopped because there was a car waiting, stopped in the middle of the road that crossed the one I was on at a perpendicular angle. I stopped because I had a stop sign and was a compliant child. He had the right of way. Why wasn't he going? His lights were on. Car was running. I could see someone sitting in the drivers seat.
Unsure, I slowly started to cross the street. The car started to move. I was gaining momentum, thinking, surely he saw me. All the street lights are on. It's a clear night. I have reflectors. I am in the middle of the fucking road. I'm the only person on the road. He was at a dead stop. Surely he would see me and stop.
He sped up. I didn't know what to do. I started to pedal faster, hoping at least I could gain enough speed to make it across the road without him hitting me. I sped up. He gassed the car.
He hit me straight on. My backpack and my bike took most of the impact. It was sort of like a cartoon, probably. A dark version of a Calvin cartoon. I mean, my shoes flew off, I skidded, everything went flying all over the place. I think I had a flute with me at the time...
I was totally unhurt because he had not been able to speed up enough. He had stopped the car and got out and was apologizing profusely. I recognized him as the ugly janitor from the High School. I say ugly, but I mean... super ugly. I remember being shocked the first time I saw him. I was young and dumb and honestly didn't know people that distorted existed. His eyes were sunken deep in his head. He had warts and moles growing hair all over his face. One of his eyes didn't work well. Like a googly eye. He wore a cap over greasy, wiry, salt and pepper colored hair. He was thin and small and frail, chest sunken, an uneven walk. I wasn't in the least afraid. I think I could have knocked him out cold with my index finger.
I actually quite liked him in general. He always let me into locked buildings in the school after hours. I thought he was a kind person, but at that moment I wanted nothing more than to pack up my shit and haul ass to rehearsal, for which I was now late.
"Please let me help you. Let me give you a ride."
"Oh. Oh... No thank you that's silly. It's just a block to the school."
"Please. Let me... What can I do for you?"
"Nothing, nothing... Don't worry about it. Thank you. Sorry."
"I'm so sorry."
He offered no excuse as to why he'd hit me. I collected my belongings as fast a humanely possible, all the while dodging his apologies and apologizing myself. Fumbled with my shoes in particular, tried to get on my bike, but the spokes were bent and the wheels wouldn't turn so I half wobbled, half fell off again and began to speed walk down the street, dragging the bike, the flute, and the backpack, leaving the man standing in the middle of the road after I'd apologized to HIM for hitting ME with his car for no apparent reason.
It wasn't until after I got to rehearsal and got chewed out for being late that I really began to consider what happened. I mean... there was no way he didn't see me in the road. He was stopped. It was almost as if he saw me coming, stopped, and then waited to go until I was directly in front of his car.