what little i remember of that day
the not knowing is what terrifies me.
i remember getting on the bike, revving it, and riding off with my friends.
then, nothing. nothing until the dull fluorescent beige of the ceiling in the ambulance and a paramedic leaning over me.
“do you know where you are?”
the blood bus rattled along noisily, speeding me to emergency.
“do you know where you are?”
“where am i?”
“you’re in an ambulance. do you remember what happened?”
“you had an accident. you’re hurt. you hurt your head. we’re trying to help you. do you understand me?”
that’s when it slips from me again.
a brief fluttering hits me of my gurney rattling as three men push me, panicked, through dull hospital corridors towards the triage. groggily, i raised my head and remembered.
mom died here. fuck. they took me here, where i checked her in to die.
and then i slipped to black again.
i came to on that bed in triage, in a large room filled with intimidating equipment and xray machines. cold steel tickled the inside of my leg as scissors rushed up my expensive jeans, cutting them away from me.
“hell... hello? hu-llo?” i rasped.
in the dull metallic clanging and electronic beeping, no one heard me.
an xray technician was rigging me for photos.
“what’s happening here?” i asked him, this time a little louder.
“oh. oh, hey! hey, hi. you’re in the hospital, honey. you hit your head. you’re kind of in a bit of a mess, but we’re cleaning you up and fixing you and finding out about this,” he slowly explained as he gestured to my head.
i groaned softly. “oh.” i closed my eyes, opened them. “do you need me anymore?”
i remember his smile, like he was about to laugh at me. “no, honey. you go ahead and take a break. we’ll cover for you.”
“mm,” i mumbled. and out again.
it would be days before a concept of time would return to me, so how much time passed then, i don’t know. i came to maybe an hour or two later, with three terrified friends standing bedside.
one of whom i had hit on the ride, the one whom stopped my scooter in the collision and sent me flying, where i landed in the intersection of 2nd and columbia. i wonder, had the accident been any time other than a quiet sunday morning in that particularly busy intersection, would i still be here?
and what happened?
so that’s what i asked them. “what happened?”
joel shook his head. “i don’t know. you hit me and i fel--”
“aww, baby. i'm sorry," i mumbled. "you okay?”
“yeah, yeah, steff, i’m okay. no, don’t worry. it’s just a bruise.” he gently lowered my hand back to the bed, since i’d been trying to check out a gash on his face.
diana smiled sadly at me. “steff, nobody saw what happened. the light turned yellow, you hit joel, but no one saw what happened. we don’t know.”
the rest doesn’t matter now. due to my injuries, i’ve ascertained a likely scenario, as to how the actual incidence of injuries might’ve occured. very c.s.i., really:
i had a torn right shoulder, a mashed knee where my knee crashed so hard into the key that it bent the key 90 degrees, flush with the ignition casing, a heavily bruised left shoulder and left elbow, where i collided with the ground, and a major concussion -- my third -- with a large, heavily bleeding cut on my inner left ear where my tiny in-the-ear hearing aid exploded with the inner-head pressure from my head bouncing on pavement, rupturing the inner walls.
thus, i suspect i crashed into joel, nose-first. the force then would have slammed me forward, where i hit the front of my knee. the bruise on top of my knee suggests it hit the handlebar as i went over it. the torn right shoulder suggests i held on for dear life, but thank god let go on the left. my right hand was the last to leave the grips, causing my left side to hit pavement first. i slid, it seems, causing no fewer than four six-inch or larger rips in my ex-Air Force leather jacket.
i suspect my head bounced not once, not twice, but three times, thanks to the different sets of scratches that occured all in the same line, but with two interruptions in it.
and then i came to a stop and bled.
but i still don’t know how i hit my friend. was it his fault? was it mine? did he stop too quickly? was it i? normally, i led the ride, but i was hungover that day and joel took over, uncomfortable about it since it was his first time leading. was it his inexperience? did i forget i wasn't leading? was it the hangover that did me in? did i hit a pothole unexpectantly? what in the fuck did i do?
what in the fucking hell happened. it’s all i want to know, and not knowing it is the problem. so, i assume that i was responsible. i have to. no other truth is available to me.
because it took me three or four months to regain all my short-term memory, neuro docs tell me i may never know what happened.
y'know, i’m the kind of girl who knows every wrong turn she’s ever taken. except one: the one that nearly killed me.
yet i ride still.