"BABY SHOES"... SUICIDE BY BIG TRUCK
BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES
As I drove down the interstate that night I was listening to the two truck drivers I was running with. They were family men... I could tell by the converstation they were having. One was talking about his wife, it was easy to sense his love for her. The other was talking about his children, his dogs. I loved it.
I liked running with them, listening to them kept me awake. Skip was asleep in the big sleeper behind me in that big truck. I drove along imagining in my mind the pictures their conversation sparked. Sometimes, I would pass and be in front of their trucks as their conversation on the CB would begin to slow them down.
Sooner or later... they would realize that they had dropped speed to talk.... it was easy to do when talking... they both would pass me up. It was comfortable driving along with them. Both knew I was a woman driving a big truck.. what I liked very much was neither felt the need to be other than what they were... family men. Alot of drivers wanted to 'play' while on the road. One could listen to the CB to know it... they rode the highways 'having fun'. These kind of truck drivers 'left alot of themselves behind'... as they traveled up and down the highways. Alot of them gave truck drivers a bad name....
I was wanting to stop at a rest area 'really bad'. I wanted to keep going because I was making such good time traveling with those two trucks. I saw a sign saying that there was a rest area a few miles ahead. Soon, I'd be driving through St. Louis, Missouri, there would be no stopping then. Night or day... the traffic was something to be reckoned with.
I began debating whether I wanted to go on ..or to stop. I probably wouldn't get with more drivers that late at night to make time go by as it had tonight. I was in front of them now...they were talking about fishing.
I saw the exit off to the right leading into the rest area... I was on it without thinking about it further, driving into the parking lot for big trucks. I parked the big rig and turned around to see Skip sitting up on the side of the big bed. I told him I had made good time traveling with those two trucks and didn't want to stop, but, I wanted to go to the bathroom.
We got out of the truck, my legs were stiff from sitting so long in one position. It hurt and felt good at the same time to walk that long walk to go the restrooms. Drivers almost always... have to 'walk a million miles' just to get to the restrooms.
I looked down at my white sneakers and I could see from the night light that I'd scuffed it. I wanted to wipe my shoe off. Climbing down from a big truck on those steps, it was easy to rub one's shoe and get it dirty. Size 6 1/2 shoes..... that is why some drivers gave me the CB handle "Baby Shoes'... because my feet were little.
I couldn't imagine when I began driving a big truck what my CB handle (name) would possibly be... it was "Baby Shoes". I didn't talk on the CB very much, if I did... I talked like I normally talked. I didn't talk the lingo that truckers talked... I didn't want to sound 'cheap'... that was very easy to do 'if' one was a woman.
How many times I cringed when I would hear women truckers on the CB talking ... they would change their voices (or maybe they always talked 'that way') and say things I knew I would never say. No... I was a sissy driving that big truck... I wasn't 'tough where one could see or hear it......... my strength lay 'within ..no one could see or hear it, unless I was pushed. That didn't happen very often. I could hold my ground when I needed to. I didn't have to act trashy to do it... I spoke quietly and looked straight into a person's eyes to make sure they understood exactly where I was coming from.
When I say I was a 'sissy', I was in the way I could be dressed very pretty and if need be... I knew how to 'get dirty'... but, no one knew that I did. They'd see a small 5 ft. 1 1/2 inch female with long, curly hair, and a bubbly smile and laughing eyes.. sweet, clean and wholesome... most never saw that smile leave my face. I never wanted that smile to leave my face, I loved to smile and be happy.
We walked into the restrooms. The first thing I would do (my secret!)....... was to peep at myself in the mirror! Those wonderful, long mirrors all the way down one wall! I would smile at myself and instantly the tiredness would begin melting away... I loved to walk and see how I looked in the mirrors 'all the way' down the wall. Of course, if I didn't feel pretty... I wouldn't look in the mirror any longer than necessary.
I washed my hands and used the dryer... I never had the patience to just stand and wait for my hands to get dry. I wiped them off on my jeans, took a last look in the mirror, walked outside to meet Skip.
Skip asked me if I would like him to drive now, and I let him. We hadn't driven very far up the road when we became aware of the CB.. there was alot of excited talking going on. I looked at Skip and back at the CB. It's seemed like something happened while we were in the rest area.
We heard the drivers saying how awful it was! That woman... it's a mess! She jumped..... that driver is in bad shape! I was beginning to realize that the two trucks I was in front of ..... and traveling with... were somehow involved!
We got closer, and now... knew that up ahead a woman had jumped into the path of one of the big trucks I'd been in front of, killing her. She was laying on the road. I began to feel sick inside, both in heart and my body, I felt all my strength leave me. I began to feel cold chills as I replayed in my mind the time we had stopped at the rest area when I'd been in front of the other two trucks.... oh my God! It could have been me that woman jumped in front of! I began to tremble. I was in shock.
I'd always heard that there were alot of people in time who had committed suicide by jumping in front of big trucks. I had already heard drivers telling their stories and now... this was almost one of my stories on the road.
I had always heard that for some reason... people chose to jump into the path of a big truck to end their lives.... my question has always been 'why'? Because... it's so final... so 'the end'... so 'not coming back'... 'there's no turning back'. Can you imagine what in the world could be in a person's mind to make them do 'that'? I can't.
I kept telling Skip that it could have been me who hit that woman! If I hadn't exited the interstate when I did... that's all that kept it from being me. While we sat there and waited... the rescue and law enforcement came... I could see that poor driver.
He was in another world... of terror and grief, realizing that a woman committed suicide in front of his truck... making him a part of her death without any choice in the matter. My heart went out to him as I watched people putting their hands on his shoulder trying to comfort him, I saw his face.... he was in shock, not knowing anything but, the horror that had just happened in his life. This was a family man... I knew... I had listened to him talk for several hundred miles ... about his wife, children, dogs, going fishing, church. Look what happened to this 'good' man.....
Forever, that man had to carry the weight of that inside..... just like Tommy.... neither had any say-so in what happened. Both were good men to be forever scarred from something so horrible. It's so unfair, yet.... unfair things happen. I know what happened to my son helped to cause his death... it disguised the symptoms of heart trouble.... he went through so much before he died... in his mind, in his personal life... he never had the help he needed. He tried so hard to be strong........
I think about things such as this... I think to myself that if you aren't careful when 'you go out into the world'........ someone's life can just 'reach out and touch yours'....... without you giving permission. It could be in a good way... or in a 'bad' way. You have no choice if you don't 'see it coming'. Life is like that... it's sad when it's in a 'bad' way.
It makes me think of Tommy. One year after that man stepped out in front of his big truck... my son died. He never could get over what happened. It played constantly in his mind, torturing him every minute of his life. I know... my son, my only child, my baby... called me almost every day of his life to talk to his mama. If he didn't talk, it was okay... his connection was there with his mama. When a mother can't make everything better for her own child... can you imagine how helpless a mother feels? I could only 'be there'. It still didn't keep him from dying.........................................
I woke up thinking about these things this morning... it's the first time I've thought about the time 'it could have been me' that hit a person with a big truck... I never had associated it with Tommy until this morning when I woke up. Just thinking about it ...is too much. It was too much for Tommy. I can still hear his soft crying in my mind saying.... 'mama, mama'.............
"Baby Shoes" could have been a part of that woman's death when she decided to commit suicide in front of the big truck. Life happens, sometimes we 'don't see it coming'......... sometimes 'we have no choice in the matter'.
Colors As I Go
grief (32) only child (4) Scary (2) Boiled eggs (1) Distrust (1) Don't call me Faye (1) Dying (1) I hate to be called Faye (1) I'm afraid of the dark (1) Middle age woman (1) Pain that reaches the soul.. can't be seen (1) Running (1) Where did my youth go? (1) dying in a beautiful way (1) life is fragile (1) light on my path (1) my son (1)