Note: This is actually something that happened to me. A friend wanted to know the story, and I wrote this in response. This is 100% factual.
The day starts off good. Whatever. It’s a normal day and I have to go to work. Of course, I’ve started out way too early and have an entire hour to get there when I’m only 15 minutes away. I don’t know what possibly could have happened, but it had to have been my alarm.
Lucy is light blue. Not quite silver. Two door. Broken down piece of shit. 82 corolla. I had an 83 before this, I loved that car. Named Adam. I thought I was so clever. Adam Corolla. Then I got into an accident with him in phoenix. An entirely separate story. Lucy is what came after. I hate her. Her wiring is bad. She’s shit out on me so many times. One night, she died 6 times between the place I’d been and home. In the middle of the street. With traffic around me. The locks hardly work. The air never did. The back seat is fucked up because I had to break into the car one night, and since the trunk latch is broken, we went in that way. I have not once, in the entire time I’ve had this car, put fluids into it other than gas. I’ve never checked the oil levels. I want it to die. I’ve even been in an accident with this car, where this bitch backed up at a red light and made it so I couldn’t close my hood. But it didn’t hurt the car. Oh hell no. Would I be that lucky? I haven’t even put stickers on this car, I hate it so much.
With an hour until work, and no way I’m going home to just turn around and come back, I decide I’m going to get breakfast. I like my job. I get to wear my own clothes. Big stompy boots, black cut off pants (long shorts now) a Marilyn Manson shirt that says “God Is A Shepherd”, my jacket that I’ve put so many patches on, drawn on, things are hanging off of it. My hair is blue and shaved in a weird way. People have thought I’m a Nazi more than once because of how I look, but I don’t care. I don’t have to change a fucking thing for this job, and there’s no way I’m going to do it for people I don’t work for.
I pull out of the McDonalds. I’ve got a huge soda which will hopefully last me the day. Four or five hash browns, because I love the grease on them. And an Egg McMuffin sans meat. I’m desperately craving french fries, however, and am disappointed that they were unwilling to make me some. I remember thinking: “You know, if I were in Vegas, they’d still have some ready to go.”
I remember it being a warm day. The sky was gray and overcast, but it was still warm out. The traffic was so very light. There were maybe three other cars on the road at the time. All going the same way as me. Odd for a weekday at rush hour, but it wasn’t exactly quite rush hour. Work starts at 7, and I’ve still almost an hour, so it’s not quite rush hour. It’s only about half a block from the McDonalds to the light. I know that much. I know that area. The soda on my lap. My bag on the seat next to me has a few CDs in it, a notebook, pens. Random things. Cell phone. The bag of food is in front of it.
I don’t remember what I was thinking right before. But it doesn’t matter. Because suddenly there was
a big black empty space of nothing that still completely engulfs my head every time I think about it. It’s an almost frightening nothing, I’ve been told since that I was talking during it. That I was awake and asking questions. I asked several times what happened. I asked if the other people were hurt, and then if it was my fault. I didn’t know where I was. I asked that several times. But I don’t remember any of it. It’s all gone. It’s all missing from my brain. There’s so many hours just gone.
What I do remember is waking up or coming to to the sound of machines. People’s feet moving. Shadows passing across my vision. It’s funny, because I’m pretty sure that my eyes are closed, but yet I’m seeing things. I wonder if it’s some sort of out-of-body thing. My voice seems to be stuck. I want to talk, but I can’t. It doesn’t hurt. I just can’t seem to remember how to do it.
My vision is weird. Just shadows on shadows, really. Every once in a while I’m blinded by this light. Or several of them. I get the sense that there is more than one person around me. I can hear … Velcro? What a strange thing to be hearing now.
Finally, I manage words.
Who are you?
“We’re nurses, honey.”
There are more sounds. A distinct smell I know like the back of my hand. But what is it? I feel like I’ve grown up knowing this smell. It smells familiar like family.
Where am I?
“In the hospital, honey.”
It makes sense why it smells familiar. My grandfather has been in the hospital every Christmas since I can remember. I’ve grown up in places like this. Minutes pass, maybe it’s only seconds. It feels like they’re still doing the same thing. My head feels strange. Swimming. Clouded. Heavy. Lighter than air. Filled with sand. Empty.
Waitaminute. Why am I here?
“You’re getting an MRI.”
“You’ve been in a car accident, dear.”
Oh. Yeah. That explains a lot.
My vision is clearing. But it’s not. It’s weird and all lopsided or something. Like I’m only seeing half the world. And everything is tinted red. I can see the nurses’ faces and I can see the giant MRI machine. I can see, if I turn and look, my feet. I can see the ceiling best of all. But it’s all an eerie shade of red that I’ve never seen in before. Things are starting to hurt now. Every inch of my body, mostly my face. It’s my eyes I’m focused on mostly. They’re bothering me. I don’t like how I can’t see right. I don’t like how everything is muted. Dark. I don’t like how I can only see half of the room at a time.
“Open your eyes for me, dear.”
They are open.
“No, sweety. I have to check your pupils. Please open your eyes.”
Panic. They ARE open.
“No. Dear, I really need you to open your eyes so I can see if your pupils are responsive.”
Oh my god. Oh my god. But aren’t they already open? I can see…. I can see you.
I think she understands now. “You’ve a bit of a cut in your eyelid. We’re going to stitch that right up after we’re done here and we get you into a room. Please, now, open your eyes.”
And I do. And everything is semi normal. Nothing is half-assed anymore. I can see both sides of the room. It all looks normal. Except that I’m still seeing everything red-tinted. I can’t rub my eye like I want to, which is probably a good thing, but it’s due to the fact that I’m strapped to the .. whatever I’m on. The nurse checks my eyes and I close them again. Only I don’t. Because one of them has a huge gash in it that I can see through. The disturbing feeling comes back.
I don’t know how long goes by before I’m taken to the room where they’re going to stitch me up. But as they wheel me in, I see it’s empty. No one there.
Where’s my mom? I’m crying now. I can’t help it.
“In the waiting room. I’ll go get her.”
There’s a small light above me. One of those ones with the reflective metal backs that focus the light. I can see myself in it. The entire left half of my face is bloody, there are lighter red streaks through it from where I’ve cried – the entirety of my eye inside and out is coated in a thick red sheen, and I can see myself despite the fact that my eye is closed. I can see what it looks like to look at me with my eye closed. I can see what it looks like to watch tears come out of the middle of my eye instead of the bottom. This is the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Dario Argento would have made entire movies based around this right here.
The door opens and I open my eyes. My mom. She’s not smiling. She looks paler than I have ever seen her. I’m crying freely now. This is fucked up. I don’t even know what happened, and here I am crying through the middle of my eyelid. When I focus on it, I can feel it flap over itself.
Were the other people hurt?
“No. They’re fine. They actually walked away from the accident. Walked to school.”
Was it my fault?
“No. They turned right in front of you. You were halfway through the intersection on a yellow and t-boned them, but it was their fault. The car bounced off of theirs and spun into a light pole on the other side of the street.”
Oh my god. I don’t remember any of it.
“What do you remember?”
Being at McDonalds. Heading to work.
“That explains the sticky wet mess all over.” She tries to joke. Defense mechanism. “That’s like the hundreth time you’ve asked me the same exact thing.”
Do you know what happened? After the accident? Between there and here?
“The cop came and asked you why you weren’t wearing your seatbelt. You said it was broken. He asked you how fast you thought you were going. You told him 30. Then you joked about how you seem to have a big fat target on you somewhere, because this is your 3rd accident in two years.”
So somewhere in there, I was coherent enough to lie. The seatbelt wasn’t broken. I just don’t like wearing them after the accident in Adam. I could have died then, and it makes me uncomfortable to have them on. And I know for a fact that I was going over 30. I always speed. Especially if the light was turning yellow. And I joked. If I had known that this is where I’d end up, I wouldn’t have joked.
She can’t tell me what happened in the ambulance, because she didn’t get called until I was here. She talked to the cop though. Says he was nice. She shows me my antique onyx cross. It’s broken in half. I haven’t taken it off since I got it, and now it’s gone. I cry more.
The doctor comes and cleans off my face the best he can. He washes out my eye with a luke warm saline solution to make sure that there’s no glass in there, and to get rid of all the excess blood. I can feel it wash down my face. Pool at the back of my neck. He’s got several places to stitch on me, he says, not just the eyelid. I ask him to do that last. I’m not ready for a needle that close to my eye. With a gash like that I should have NO eye. I’m not ready for even a mistake, a fluke, to take that away. I can’t feel the other places, he says he’s put lidocaine in the areas, and that’s why. There’s one on the top of my head, in my hair. One at the front just at my hair line. One at the corner of my eye, in my eyelashes and the one on my eyelid. He’s got all of them done now. He says the lidocaine he’s used on the corner of my eye will help with the pain in my eyelid, but he can’t give me any directly there due to dangers. He asks if I’m ready and I tell him to get it over with.
I have my eyes closed against the horror, but I’m watching him anyway. I can see the needle pass through. I can see it as it gets horrifyingly close. Dario would cream his pants if he could see this now. If he could film it, I would be his goddess for life. Immortalized on the screen for all the world to be horrified at.
It feels like it takes decades for that silver sliver to stop passing over my vision. I’ve grabbed my mother’s hand somewhere in there and my hand aches from how tight I’m gripping her.
Once he’s finished, he gives me a brief smile and then he’s gone. My eyes are closed, and I cannot see. It’s the most blissful event of my life. I don’t see things in red. I feel like I can breathe easier.
They move my bed out into the hall, because they know I’m alright now, I’m stitched up and not scary anymore, and they’ve got a trauma recovery they need to put in there. I’m alright with that. I don’t mind. My mom is slightly ticked off. She thinks I should have a room, but they’re going to release me in a while anyway. They’ve already told us most of the release information, which is that I cannot absolutely cannot sleep for 24 hours. Even though I so want to. I keep closing my eyes, and every time I do, my mom talks to me about something trivial and stupid to make sure nothing horrible happens to me. Nothing more horrible.
It’s one of those times and a pause in talking when I hear the sound of heavy boots. And jingling. Metal on metal. A confident walk. It feels… oddly familiar. I open up my eyes and track down the source. I nearly sit up in the bed, but my mom is startled and holds me down.
The ceiling lights are directly behind him, almost making it impossible for me to see him. Haloing him as if he were an angel. Which is what a part of my brain wonders if he is for the briefest of moments before he comes into better view. The dirty blonde hair. The bright blue eyes. That wonderfully friendly toothy smile. I cry again out of joy, and I’m not entirely sure why. My mom looks at me strangely. The broad shoulders. The uniform. The way he walks.
I know this man, and yet I’ve never met him before in my life.
You’re my cop!
“Yeah. I didn’t know if you’d remember. I just came to see if you’re alright.”
Mom! This is my cop!
I’m smiling now, like a fool, tears falling out of my eyes and I can’t stop them. I know him. He saved me. He made me feel alright. He comforted me. He made sure that I was alright. That I was alive. And here he’s doing it again. Making me feel alright. It still brings a tear to my eye, because the feeling wells up like it never went away.
Mom is able to stop holding me down. I got too excited to see him. She’s smiling at him now, explaining how I don’t remember anything, joking that she’s had to tell me a thousand times the same things. He’s talking to my mom, finding out what’s going on. What the doctor has said. He looks at me again and gives me that big smile. He tells me to take care of myself. Holds my hand for a second. Then he’s gone. Gone as if he were actually an angel and just dissipated into the air.
Do we know if he’s married?
She laughs. It’s a strange thing for me to ask on several levels. But he saw me before I was ever fixed up, and he was still able to give me that smile. The smile that went all the way into his eyes. Never once showed a flicker of disgust or worry. Just that smile.
My mother remarks later how funny it is that out of everything I’ve lost about that day, he’s the one and only thing I remember. Not my conversation with him. Not the things he said to me. Not joking about things. But his face. I didn’t even remember until I saw him that he was a cop. It just seemed right that he should be.
((It’s strange to write all this out and have every memory and every emotion flood back into me after almost 6 years of not thinking about it really at all. I was home bound for a really long time. I wasn’t able to drive for three months after that because I started having seizures. I’ve got pictures too. They’re here next to me. I’ve been looking at them every once in a while to help me recall. The left side of my face has wounds and bruises from chin to forehead, and it goes back further even though you can’t see. They gave me so many drugs.
I look really stoned in this picture.
I still have that jacket.))