I drop Rob off at his office on my way to the barre studio most mornings, and nothing was different about Tuesday until I had to slow down suddenly and the car behind us came barreling through, crashing into us and throwing our car forward violently before stopping in its tracks.
As it was happening I felt suddenly and completely alone, trying to comprehend what was going on and wondering where the sharp pain in my arm was coming from. I didn't know what to do; what had taken place. And then his hand reached for me and I heard his voice snatch me out of the blackness. "Are you okay? Pull over here. Turn on the hazard lights. Stay right there, I'll be back."
And then an hour or two of firefighters stopping by and EMTs asking if we needed to see a doctor, police questions and notes taken down hastily and a wrecker picking up the car that had hit us, which was no longer drive-able. Our bumper hung loose from a corner of the back of our own car and the man driving the truck ripped it off and helped us get it in the trunk and we were able to drive it away.
So there we were, together; my hand in his and the receptionist at urgent care leaning forward from her desk to ask us for our insurance information--"Mr. and Mrs. Peterson?"
It's really rare that we're referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Anything--and really not since our wedding. This was certainly the first time it was uttered under any sort of emergency--not an oh my gosh congratulations, Mrs. Peterson situation but instead the doctor will see you now, Mrs. Peterson.
And I remember thinking right then and there that I wanted to hold on to these memories: of my headache in the waiting area, the way the walls spun around me as we sat in an exam room while the doctor made her rounds through an understaffed facility, of his aching body lying next to my aching body while I fell asleep earlier that afternoon, bruised and sore but safe in his arms.
Because we said "for better or for worse" when we stood in front of our family and friends that sunny evening in May, promising our lives to one another and vowing to be there until the end. And that wasn't the end--not even close--but life can throw some crazy things at you and even when you walk away mostly unharmed, there is all sorts of magic and strength in having someone you love to lean on throughout it all.