Short Story Saturday

Written 1/13/98 By Lisa M. Evans

The Day I Thought I Had Lost My Leg

June 18, 1989, I was cruising down Euclid Avenue in the passenger’s seat of my new car. I let my boyfriend drive, against my mother’s warnings. I wanted to enjoy the ride. As I was staring out the window watching the buildings and street signs whisk by. I was drifting to the momentum of the wheels rolling over the pavement. My eyes begin to close; I was startled by a violent shift in the car. As it swerved toward the curb, everything that had been whisking by seemed to stop.

                “Turn the wheel!” echoed in my head, but before the words could reach my lips, it was too late. A telephone pole was planted in the place where the right front end of the car had been.

                “Damn, my mother’s going to kill me.”

                I had bits of glass all over me. The motor was still running and the same sound that had been lulling me to sleep became an irritating buzz.

                “Turn the car off!” I shouted.

                My boyfriend fumbled around the steering wheel finally reaching the keys.

                “Are you alright?” He kept asking me.

                “I’m fine.” I said just to get him to shut up. I was angry with myself for disobeying my mother and with my boyfriend for being a terrible driver.

                A crowd gathered around the car and my boyfriend got out to see if anyone had witnessed the accident. I just sat in the car, still in my seat belt staring at the pole embedded in the side of my car.

                “You know he ain’t got no license.”  A woman said sticking her head in my window.

“They gone to take him to jail.” I cut my eyes at her for breaking my concentration, and she walked away.  My boyfriend was arrested for driving with a suspended license.

A fireman ran up to the car and started ripping at the door frame with what looked like a large pair of pliers.

“I can’t pry the door open; we’re going to have to take her out of the back door.”  Outside of the car, there were crowds, sirens and men in uniforms rushing around as is the car would blow up any minute. Inside the car, I sat embarrassed.

“Are you OK Miss?” an EMS worker asked me as he climbed across the driver’s side seat to check my pulse.

“I’m…,” I paused and liked down beyond the shards of glass and glanced at my legs tucked under the seat. I moved my right leg, it was fine then I moved my left leg but only half of it would cooperate.

“I think something is wrong with my leg” I finally told the EMS worker.

“Oh my God!”  He blurted out. I started to panic as he slowly let my seat back. I watched him as he carefully lifted my leg from under the seat. I gasped when I noticed my foot was pointing in the wrong direction.

“Lay back and try to relax” the EMS worker told me while he placed my leg in a splint. I couldn’t relax. I didn’t feel any pain, I didn’t feel anything. As the paramedic fastened the splint on my leg, I felt he was just going through the motions afraid to tell me that my leg was no longer part of my body.

In the emergency room I was met by eager interns ready to assess the damage. I peered through the swarm of white coats and watched the doctors remove the splint and proceed to cut my blood soaked jeans from my leg.

“You don’t want to see that” a nurse whispered in my ear. Defiantly, I leaned in to get a closer look. She was right; my leg was a mangled mess.

“I’m going to lose my leg” I thought. I dared not to say it aloud for fear my statement would be confirmed. Instead, I cried.

My Mother had been visiting relatives in Arizona. Upon her return, I had already been in the hospital for two days. When my mother came to visit me, I was surprised she didn’t react the way I feared she would. She didn’t mention the car or the fact that my boyfriend had been driving, she gave me a kiss and asked me if I was OK. My Mother was just thankful I was alive, but amiss her caring glance, I could see her disappointment.

I suffered a compound fracture in my left leg and one of the bones protruded through my skin. I spent seven days in the hospital, three months in a cast, one year with a metal pin fusing my bone together, and the rest of my life apologizing to my mother.

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