There is a feel-good car commercial airing lately. A soothing narrator talks while a family drives down the road. Kids laugh, a mother rests her hand on her expectant baby bump, a father looks in the rear view mirror and smiles at his son. A few more clips of different families in their cars as the years pass, some gentle music, and at the end they all arrive home, content and safe.
Every time it comes on, I tense. The first few times I saw it, I was so anxious I left the room. I was confused by this. There is nothing frightening, no foreshadowing, but I just know it’s going to be one of those commercials that shocks you by having a crash happen out of nowhere. I don’t want to see the family staggering, hurt, dying. It came on multiple times before I could remember it ended well. Even knowing this, I feel nervous when I see it.
It took weeks to figure it out. Because of the way our accident happened, happiness and normalcy feel like a set-up for something terrible. There were no indicators that our lives were about to change, no skidding car sounds or squealing brakes. I didn’t see her speeding towards us. Casual, pleasant family conversation, and suddenly we were living in a horrible new world.
Now, the fact that there is no warning, feels like a warning.
Hundreds of every day moments. I cannot feel safe.