Two years ago on October 6th I was in an accident. A motorcycle accident.
I had been busy packing up my life to move to Singapore, had just had a relationship end too. I was busy being confused emotionally and professionally. And I was riding on the 101 home from work with a goodbye gift from a friend tied on the back of my bike. Admittedly, I had known that tying 50 yards of fabric (aerial tissu) on the back was a bad idea, but being stupid and busy and grateful and it being late at night, I did it anyway. I saw the fabric flick in my rearview mirror as I was going 90 mph at 11pm and somehow in the second between seeing that minute movement in my mirror and the fabric locking my back wheel I prepared myself to go down and get run over by a car. I remember thinking “crap, here we go. am I supposed to stay connected to the bike or push it away? don’t tense, try to roll with the fall…” and then I was nearly down and I remember preparing myself to feel a car runover me. But it didn’t. I don’t know how. It hit me, my head busted out it’s front light or so it seemed, I don’t really know if it was my head or what it was. It was all so fast and yet I remember in second increments. As soon as I’d assesed that I hadn’t been run over I jumped up and found the shoulder of the road.
I could morbidly account for you the things that could have happened as I’ve done many times. Or, as I’m won’t to do, go over each second of crash and impact and trauma. But I won’t.
Last year I silently marked this day in my heart. I have a piece of the jeans I was wearing that the paramedic cut off my legs hanging up in my bedroom. I was fine. Nothing broken or even fractured. Just road rash and emotional confusion. and really large swollen cankles.
What I want to tell you is that on October 6th 2009, a lot of people helped me. The poor man who’d been driving behind me thought he’d killed me and when he found out I was alive, helped me find where my phone had been thrown and pick up my totalled bike. A doctor just off duty at the hospital, still in scrubs, got out of his car on the side of the highway and checked my vital signs, american precautions of the ability to sue be damned. My ex-boyfriend picked me up and brought me home no questions asked. A new friend from massage therapy school, someone who barely knew me, came to see me the next day bringing me a picnic to spread out on the floor of my barren apartment. Another friend lent me his truck for the last 20 days I was living in the US, riding his own motorcycle so that I could get to work, move my stuff, finish up school. He also found a way to acquire special diabetic bandages because I had wounds on my legs that would not heal on their own, the blood wouldn’t clot.
There’s more, so much more I’ll probably never remember it all. But I remember what happened, and all the people who helped me for no reason but they knew I needed it. And whenever I feel like the world might be going to the dogs I remember that day and the days that came directly after. There’s so many tragedies to remember, but there’s also triumphs like my October 6th triumph. Who knows why I lived to tell the tale – fate? luck? dumb circumstance? I’ll never know.
This is what I know, people helped me who didn’t have an obligation to. With no reward or recognition. I don’t know the doctors name. So this is the 2nd year of living past that, of knowing what it feels like to be helped like that. And so, in my own, possibly morbid, but grateful way, I celebrate it. Thank you, the unknowns and the knowns, for saving me, for teaching me, for being there. I hope I’m as compassionate if given the chance to be.