Day 21 : (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
It was the first day of June, and at hot, sunny one at that. Heat makes me miserable. Well, truthfully, it doesn’t take much to make me miserable.
Xan was late coming home from work as usual. I was ravenous with hunger when he called on his way home from work. My attitude was sour, because we were nearing the 7 o’clock hour. It had been far too long since my last meal, and I was bitter that he had a blatant disregard for his family’s needs. We bantered back and forth as to what we wanted to do for dinner.
Suddenly, the phone cut out. This was a usual annoying occurrence during his daily commute home. And I impatiently waited for him to call back, ranting to my mother about what an incredibly inconsiderate jerk he had been. The wait continued, and I found that I was fed up with the situation. I attempted to call him back, but the phone went straight to voicemail.
I was furious. Just because I gave him a little attitude after a long day gives him the right to ignore me? My anger continued to grow as I attempted him again and again without any luck. Suddenly, a strange number came up on my phone. I answered, expecting it to be a bill collector of some sort.
It was Xan. He said, “Lulu, don’t panic. I’ve been in a car accident.”
When someone tells me not to panic, naturally I go straight to it. I am an alarmist, and I always expect the worst. I frantically screamed, “Oh my god, are you okay?!”
“I don’t know,” he responded, sounding dazed and a little confused. He continued after a brief pause, “I think you need to call an ambulance. Could you call an ambulance?” There was no urgency in his voice. Only a flat tone.
I didn’t know what to do. How could I call an ambulance for him when I didn’t even know where he was, or what was wrong, or really what happened in the first place? Suddenly, the adrenaline started coursing through my veins. My head cleared and I assured him, “Hold on, I’m coming. Where are you?” He gave me his location, and I prodded his broken mind for more information as to what happened for more details.
“I’ve got to go. The paramedics are here,” he informed me.
Urgently, I told him, “I’m coming. Tell the paramedics to wait, because I’m on the way. Don’t let them take you without me.”
My father offered to take me. My brain was buzzing like live wires during a ride that seemingly took forever. Is he okay? Is he going to die? What happened to him? What’s going to happen now? Please God, please let him be okay. I hate myself for all of the needless bickering. Those could have been my last words to him.
I arrived on the scene and jumped out of the car. I crossed two lanes of traffic and stared intensely at the accident scene. AT first, all I could see was a circle of police cars, some policeman directing traffic, some paramedics, and the ambulance. I started to panic again when I couldn’t see Xan. As I continued approaching, I saw the other car. The entire front end was completely smashed in. My heart seized and my throat started to close. I couldn’t know what to expect. But, naturally, I feared the worst. I feared Xan on a stretcher, profusely bleeding and broken.
The Jetta came into view as I frantically continued into the scene, and it was a sight that rocked me to my very core. I gasped with what little air I could manage. The whole driver’s side was entirely smashed in, looking as if it could have done lethal damage to the person in that car. That person being Xan, my lover, my husband, my best friend.
I was still desperately searching for him. Everyone took notice of me, and watched intently. I called out his full name, “(Withheld)!!!” And I ran, rounding the police cars to find him sitting on the traffic island. I plunged to the ground, scraping both of my knees under my thin skirt, and I carefully embraced him. I sat down beside him to inspect him. I asked again, “Are you okay?!”
Once again, he replied in a very unsteady voice, “I don’t know.”
He bared a swollen knee and described his head and neck injury. He didn’t even know it, but he had a piece of beaded glass embedded in his thick eyebrow. That paramedic approached us and said to me, “He hasn’t decided if he’s going to the hospital.”
Xan started mumbling some things about transportation, but I sharply cut him off. “Yes, he’s going. He is going, and he’s going now in the ambulance.”
Once I determined it was okay to leave him for a moment, I went to assess the damage to our beloved vehicle. It was absolutely heartbreaking. My first car, the car that I worked so hard for, that I lived in abject poverty over, the car I never had a chance to drive, was completely demolished. It had a car sized dent spanning the entire driver’s side.
I went inside, determined to find Xan’s glasses, which no one bothered to look for. I collected the rest of our belongings, and that’s when I saw them. They were jammed between the driver’s side door and the seat that now touched each other. I dove across a glass covered seat in that thin skirt to retrieve them.
I accompanied him in the ambulance. They preferred that I sit in the front as they loaded him on the stretcher and put him in the back. I heard the conversation clear as a bell. ”You are a very lucky guy,” said one of the paramedics. The other said, “Yeah, that crash could have killed you.”
That’s when the seriousness of it hit me. He was lucky. Very lucky that day to be alive. The car was impacted at least 35mph in the direct center of the driver’s side. He was thrown to the side a bit, and came back with a nasty smack to his head, sending his glasses flying. The driver’s side could have crushed him in. He could have been killed. He could have died that very day. I would never have been able to take back all of the nastiness that happened. I could have never made up for it. I could have never seen him, held him, kissed him, or talked to him ever again.
I stood with him, holding his ice cold hand the entire time. I ordered nurses and doctors around. I made sure he was hydrated and escorted him to the bathroom. He was irritated, but I didn’t care. I was not about to leave his side. I was going to care for him in whatever ways that I could. I would stay with him, and comfort him, though he claimed he was fine. I would joke with him and help him feel better.
That night, I stayed up as much as I could. I woke him up every couple of hours with increasingly difficult questions. It started with mother’s maiden name and our son’s middle name. Eventually, we ended up with first address, grandmother’s maiden name, and his biological father’s date of birth. I was determined to ensure he was alright. I had people on call, waiting in the instance that he had to return to the hospital.
Luckily, he managed to escape a potentially deadly crash with a concussion, a bruised knee, a cut eyebrow, and a pair of slightly bent glasses. Unfortunately, he did end up having post concussive syndrome. For a long time after the crash, he wasn’t quite right. In time, he got better. But at the very least, he was alive and for the most part, unharmed.
Today, I still cringe and panic anytime the phone cuts out or he turns up late from work. But, I’ve learned my lesson. Grudges aren’t worth it. Always reconcile as soon as possible. Because, maybe one day, that person won’t be there in another moment to reconcile with.