Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Tragedy, Part 1, and 100th post

This is my 100th post. Shoo. Who would've thought I'd manage to keep it up this long? My little practice pad for writing. If it was on real paper, I'd have used maybe two exercise books, or even three, depending on how many pages in each, and how big I wrote, and if I started each entry on a new page or not, and... Let me stop there... My 100th post should surely not just be filled with arbitrary drivel? Oh, wait, maybe that's what my blog is?

I've had fun though. It's freaked me out (the privacy thing) and made me laugh (people can be so funny) and provided an outlet for a whole lot and continues to make me write, which was the whole point. I am nowhere near to writing as openly as I had wished, but I think perhaps that is not a bad thing. People know about the blog now and it's taken on a different notion. There are still stories I need to tell, and keep promising, and I'll keep doing that. Perhaps that is what I should use this, 100th, blog for. The Tragedy story which I keep promising.

It was a perfect December day. The sky above the Karoo through which we drove was brilliant, clear blue and the sun was hot, despite it being early morning. My mind was filled with mixed emotions, I was on the brink of something huge and new. I didn't know then, how huge and different.

You see, we were driving away from university, for the last time. Four years of learning (and by that I mean so much more than just acadaemia). The academics were peripheral to, well, the learning to live - coming into one's own... fucking up, picking oneself up (or being picked up by friends) and just being filled with life. Unencumbered freedom. We did as we pleased. We loved without caution, we played without trepidation. It was an incredible time.

And, at this point, on the 1st of December 1996, it had come to an end. I was indescribably sad to be leaving behind friends, and that life, but exhilirated by my plans - to visit my boyfriend in Zimbabwe and then move to The City Beneath the Mountain, into a house with him and another friend to start our time in the Real World for a year before I joined those varsity friends overseas to travel. My youth-tinted plan included those travels 'until I was done', at which point I'd come home, pregnant. With, or without father of said child. I wanted five.

But the universe had other plans. At around 9am, in the Karoo (strangely a place I have always, and still do, love... my heart always clenches and then breathes out a huge pleasurable sigh when I go there), under that hot blue sky, we crashed. We just went off the road, mid-conversation, Iggy Pop's 'Lust for Life' playing (I am still unsure if that is true, but in my head, that's the story, and I'm sticking to it). We rolled, it was noisy, glass crashed and metal ripped, over some thorn trees and came to a stop many metres off the road. And then there was a hot silence.

I remember seeing blood on the windscreen next to the rear view mirror. I was lying with my head on D's arm, halfway across the seat. I moved my right hand. Once. And then it wouldn't move again. She was (unsurprisingly) hysterical. I have a knack of going completely calm in stressful situations (this is, sometimes, not a good thing... like when a shelf of books is about to fall and I calmy say, after thinking for a few seconds: "Oh dear, look, those books are going to smash that lovely vase" by which stage the vase is being swept into a dustpan. On this occassion, however, it was a good thing). I got her to get out of the car. She couldn't see the road. I got her to keep turning slowly until she could see a car and then go there and get help.

We were in the middle of nowhere. People stopped. They were wonderful. A guy from Varsity, who we knew, stopped. He was even more wonderful (I still want to thank him for that). It was a long time, with lots of people, before the ambulance came. I remember sipping coke through a straw and it getting hotter and hotter. I also remember thinking that I must've broken both my legs and arms, and calculating that I would be fine by our Graduation, the next April. Graduation was a big thing at our varsity - one last big bash.

And then there was a whirlwind of ambulances, hospitals, a call to my parents (I told them I was fine, the doctor took the phone and told them to come), transferred from Small Town to Bigger Town (where my mother met me) and then airlifted to The City beneath the Mountain. In the Bigger Town, apparently (I heard this a long, long time later), a nasty nurse in the ICU informed my mother, alone, in the early hours of the morning, that, more-than-likely, I would never walk again. She did not tell me, of course. I was to find out a couple of days later.

So, yes, it turned out, that after spending 21 years on this earth without breaking anything (not even a finger), when I did break something, I did it oh-so-properly. I broke my neck. And really well too. The doctors said my spinal cord inside the vertebrae that I broke was well and truly mushed.

Gosh, this tragedy story is longer than I anticipated. And sounds a bit soap opera-ish. I'm prone to drama. It's my thing. Well, at least, one of them. Fuck, I've finally written this. Now, do I click on Publish Post? As is obvious, this is just the beginning of the story, but that was surprisingly draining, and I think I shall leave it there.

And anyway, isn't it time to crack open the champagne and celebrate 100 posts?

12 comments:

Mud in the City said...

Wow. That is quite a story - and brave to share. It is the beginning though - you need to tell us more.....

jacki janse van rensburg said...

*jacki breaks out of lurkerdom to say:*

shoo! i'm breathless...

...and congrats on 100.

Rambler said...

Aw, my beautiful friend... I know how hard that must be... but you've only been brave and positive, and walked taller than most people I know...

I look forward to growing old, so we'll all be able to take our own chairs where ever we go...

lots of love darling girl!

cxxxx

allie said...

This time your gift for vivid writing makes reading this almost too hard to bear.

Thank you for bravely retelling what must be an indescribably traumatic time.

I clink glasses with you for your 100th post - your blog has something very special and very unusual about it.

Miranda said...

Shoo, Shiny, what a brave tale to tell and well done for telling it. Rambler's right - you walk taller than most people I know. Congrats on 100th post, woohoo, crack open the champagne!

rae said...

You are awesome, in the true sense of the word. you've been an emotional inspiration since roughly a week after I met you.

Anonymous said...

(just so as you know I read it - and have been affected)

shoo! I'm speechless....

much love...
fj

tam said...

I'm glad you're writing it. I am so glad you lived. I am so glad I know you.
xxx

Simply-Mel said...

I wish I did know you IRL - you are clearly an inspiration to many and we all need people like that around us.

Thank you for sharing this Part One with us.

And OPAH (a la Clive) to your 100th post.

Shiny said...

Thank you, all of you. It was cathartic to write it. It's such a tiny smidgeon of the full tale but I fear this will be a slow one to tell. I feel all exposed by it, but I'm going to push through and will continue at some stage, I promise x

Anonymous said...

What necessary words... super, a magnificent phrase

Anonymous said...

Remarkable idea and it is duly