Let Me Tell You About Terror
I’ve been reviewing horror comics for six years for HorrorTalk. I now run a horror comics podcast called Funny Book Splatter. During this time, I have grown to truly appreciate the horror genre and a good scare. Nothing in that time, nor my entire existence on this planet, holds a candle to what I experienced this morning. That was pure, unbridled terror.
This morning, as with every weekday morning, I was ushering my kids out the door to take them to day care. I have this checklist in my head that I run down to make sure we have everything. The kids each decided to bring a blanket into the car with them this time. I open the door and we head out in the driveway. Parker lags behind just a bit, but that’s not unusual. I get to the car and open the back door on the driver’s side where Parker’s car seat is and toss the kids’ bags into the back seat. I turn around and Oliver is right there, but Parker is not. I then see his head bobbing up the driveway through the car windows. He’s running for the road.
My driveway is not very long. It can comfortably fit four cars in a two-by-two formation. By the time I saw Parker making a beeline for the street, he was halfway there. I immediately darted around the car, screaming his name. It was at this point that I heard an engine rev to my left. A car was coming around the corner as my not-quite-two-year-old was getting closer and closer to the road.
A million things ran through my head at this second. Will he stop on his own? Will I be fast enough to catch him? What happens if he gets into the street? Will the car see him? What happens if the car doesn’t see him? How will I tell Monica that I let our toddler get hit by a car? All of these questions and more were throttling through my mind at once as my feet pounded the pavement. All the while, Parker is gleefully running towards the end of the driveway, blanket in one hand and a smile on his face.
I scooped him up in my arms just as he reached the driveway’s edge. It was at that moment that the car, revealed to be a senior citizen bus, came into full view and stopped short right in front of my house, just past the driveway. If I was a second later, Parker would have been under that bus.
I held Parker close, hugging him to my chest. He was completely unaware of how close he’d come to horrific injury or even death. His big eyes were looking all around and he was smiling up at me. I touched his head and told him how scared I was and how he should never run into the road because he could get hurt. I didn’t yell. I didn’t even raise my voice. I was just relieved that he was okay. My heart was beating out of my chest, but he was fine. The trip to daycare went like normal, although I didn’t say a word the whole way. Neither did the kids. It’s like they knew I was going through this all in my head. My hands were shaking.
Now, I’m sure I’m not the only parent to ever lose control of their kid or have them run off like that. I’m sure I won’t be the last either. Hell, I’m sure that one or both of my kids will scare me just as much at least a few more times over the course of their lives. I can say with confidence that during those few seconds, as I was running towards my child, I have never been more scared. Not clowns, not monsters, not home invasion. Nothing has ever terrified me as much as those few footsteps. I hugged both Oliver and Parker extra tight when I dropped them off at day care, thankful that this morning we ended up there instead of in a hospital. I’ll be hugging them just as tight when I pick them up today too.