Awww, the awesome story open call has been recalled. Just when I was ready to open the lid of my awe-some stories box. For me it's a place where you can stuff all the personal historical remnants and records. You can press everything deeper and deeper down until there’s no space left and you can hardly close the lid. That’s where I keep all my fading stories from long ago.
I seldom visit but recently I reopened it and came across a black eye patch I once wore. No, I wasn’t trying to be some swashbuckling pirate woman. In fact the sight of it startled me. I had forgotten that I kept it. I should’ve thrown the damn thing out but I guess I kept it as a memento that events can alter your life in a split second.
Like maybe you are minding your own business, returning from a dentist appointment to your downtown Toronto office midday, when unaware, you are about to cross paths with a paranoid schizophrenic stranger, who just that morning, discharged herself from a nearby psychiatric hospital.
Somehow by some strange twist of fate you - or in this case, me - wait for the light to change and proceed to cross the intersection when, traveling at a fast speed, a vehicle picks your body up, hurls you over the hood and spills you onto the hard curb nearby. Meanwhile the hit and run driver behind the wheel goes on her scrambled way, proceeding to hit five other people in different sections of the city that afternoon.
And maybe you once felt someday you might have something to share with the world, but you never planned to make the six o’clock news, this way.
The recovered worn black eye patch brings it all back.
And you remember your mother telling the story years after it happened, how the car was a Buick (and you know it wasn’t, but you don’t correct her, because what difference does it make now anyway?)
She will go over where she was when she got the call saying you were in the emergency ward of the hospital. She will tell you the person who called to notify her of the accident said, without thinking, “Mrs. S _______ are you sitting down?”
I’m still mad at that person for scaring my mother like that. I was unconscious at the time but turns out he had a fifth of whiskey in his breast pocket and took a swig of it before making the call, being shook up and all.
Yes, my mother rewrote the story as she told it with the drama it deserved but she ended on a high note by making a joke. My mother, as a rule, didn't joke, but she knew the value of comic relief and made everyone laugh saying I had a thick head. She was right, we’re a family of hardheaded women. Thankfully.
She knew not to talk about the prison you (me) erected for yourself after that; how you feared large fast moving objects, couldn’t drive on the highway, and how after being her brazen daughter all those years, suddenly at twenty-seven, you feared crossing the street. She didn’t mention that you sat in that apartment while the black and blue turned to purple, then yellow and green. No, she didn’t mention while waiting to heal, you wore that patch while you looked out the window at the traffic mustering the strength to cross the intersection. In your mind’s eye.
However you can now sit back thankful you didn’t become a member of the 27 Club. But it was close.
I don’t know if this was an awesome story. But I have many objects inside that old trunk, each has a story attached; some could fill a chapter, some a book. Many seem to belong to someone else’s life now; not mine. But I think I’ll close the lid again and move on.
After I throw out the eye patch.
© Scarlett Sumac 2012.