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Statute of Limitation

Patricia Bender

I was nine years old and riding the bike we called the English racer back from Aunt Maisie’s when I was hit by the car. I could see the car. I could see the driver. I could see that the driver aimed the car at the front wheel of the bike. I had just passed the Longdecker house and Lillian was out in the front yard. She had just raised her arm in the beginning of a wave when she saw the car too. She started to run, shouting the driver’s name over and over. Lillian and the driver had grown up on the block and were clearly the best-looking girls for miles. The so-called accident brought them together in a friendship that lasted two lifetimes, though Lillian began to look at her friend through a light veil of sorrow. The car hit me before Lillian could throw herself in front of it, she said. I believe that’s what she meant to do. She was a big woman, almost six feet tall and terrifically strong. One time she knocked a man down just by throwing her ponytail over her shoulder, but that’s another story. As the car hit the front tire of the bike the world fell silent. I lifted off the worn tan leather seat and as if drawn by a magnet landed on the hood of the car. In my ascend the bike hand break snapped off the left handlebar and logged itself in my leg. When I landed it seemed like a good idea to rest and begin to forget the whole thing ever happened, even before Lillian suggested just that.

Patricia Bender’s writing has been published by Beir Bua Press, Common Ground, Good Foot, LIPS, the Paterson Literary Review, Peregrine, Southword, and THE GREAT FALLS ANTHOLOGY. A National Writing Project Fellow, she serves on the Editorial Board of the New Jersey English Journal, and as a United Nations Volunteer online editor.

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