Today I’ve opened the door and invited J R Wagner in. I’m so pleased he was able to find time in his busy schedule to share something with us. Enjoy!!
Life gets in the way
-a story of a day in my life…coincidence or fate, you decide.
By J. R. Wagner
It was winter. I was standing along side the slush-covered road up to my ankles in wet, nasty, gray, polluted snow. My car, having just done a 360 in the middle of the winding country road had found itself half on, half off the guide rail. There was no getting it off without some roadside assistance.
Fortunately, my auto insurance company rooked me into paying an extra nine bucks a month for their roadside assistance and now, after six years of never having a need for it (that’s $648.00 pissed away) it was time to cash in. I reached into my pocket to pull out my cell and realized (with a few expletives) that I’d left it in my car.
I began trudging back toward my car. My feet had long since lost any feeling and the impact of each step stung like a sonofabitch. As I passed the rear bumper, I heard it. The scraping of a plow truck barreling down the road. It was coming from the opposite direction. The direction I was facing.
I thought nothing of it, opened my car door as far as I could, which was just far enough to squeeze my oversized head through and search for the phone. Spotting it quickly, I leaned the rest of my torso inside and picked it off the floor. The radio was on. Nirvana was playing. The sound of the plow grew louder as I extricated myself.
I shut the door and began walking back to my safety spot behind my car on the opposite side of the guide rail so I don’t get run over by another motorist or covered in a deluge of nasty tar and grime infested slush from the plow. When I reached my spot of pre-packed snow, I flipped open my phone (yes, before the days of touch phones) and began to dial.
I glanced up quickly as the giant orange plow truck, yellow light flashing, rounded the corner –now just a few hundred feet from my stranded vehicle. He didn’t slow. Assuming he will pass by (perhaps he doesn’t see me at all, just the car) I continued punching in the number to the roadside assistance place. My un-gloved hands were stiff and nearing on numb. As I went for the last digit, the phone slipped out of my hand. I cursed and bent over to retrieve the phone, now buried in six inches of road slop.
That’s when it hit me. It didn’t hurt –not then anyway. I felt something. I wasn’t exactly sure what but it was enough to force me to stand back up, leaving the phone where it lay. Something warm was on my forehead. Odd. Then it rolled into my eyes, which felt even stranger -yet somehow, the warm sensation was soothing in the freezing environment. When it made its way into my mouth, I knew something was wrong.
It was blood. I was all to familiar with that taste having had my wisdom teeth pulled not two weeks earlier. My vision began to spin. I immediately reached for my head and felt a warm, sticky gash just beyond my hairline. I could feel the blood coursing out of the injury with every pulse of my ever-quickening heartbeat. The plow had passed. I could hear it’s obnoxious diesel engine growing faint in the distance.
I had to do something but I wasn’t sure what. I was confused and growing more so. I needed to stop the bleeding. I stumbled for my car, remembering I stashed a first aid kit in the trunk. I fell once but quickly regained my footing. I reached the trunk only to find it locked. My keys…where were they? I searched my pockets with the hand not applying pressure on the injury and found nothing but cash.
I heard a song in the distance. I’d heard it before but couldn’t recall the name. I was becoming less and less lucid. My vision began to blur. I began to panic. I needed to call for help. My phone! I remembered dropping it in the snow. Quickly, I turned. There was a thick line of blood in the snow that ended where I hoped my cell sat. My God, so much blood. I began walking toward the largest patch of red snow (sure my phone was in there somewhere) when I fell to the ground. This time I did not get up.
My strength was gone. My head was buried in the snow far enough that all I could see was the reddening of the snow in front of my face. I was going to die. Rather than pissed like I thought I’d be if I’d met an untimely death, I was relaxed –comfortable even. I just wanted to sleep. I was so tired. I shut my eyes.
Something warm touched the back of my neck. I heard shouting. I didn’t want to open my eyes. I didn’t want to wake up. People were touching me, yelling at me. They rolled me over. I saw light –the sun maybe? Some blurred faces. Lots of movement. I heard a woman’s voice –calming yet commanding. Someone touched my head and I let out a scream I never knew I was capable of and my world went black.
I lived. Apparently the plow hit a softball-sized chunk of ice and sent it hurtling at my head. The driver never even knew I was there. It turns out, the plow truck driver’s daughter was a volunteer for the local ambulance company and happened to be driving home when she noticed the blood along the road. She thought someone had hit a deer. After I was loaded in an ambulance and began my trip to the hospital, another car came whipping around that bend in the road. There were two policemen, three volunteer EMT’s and a tow truck driver standing in the road. The car provided little warning as it slid silently across the icy surface of the road. One policeman, the tow truck driver and an EMT were able to jump to safety. The others, including the plow truck driver’s daughter, were struck by the car. The policeman would never walk again, the EMT suffered multiple fractures in both lower extremities and the plow truck driver’s daughter was pinned against the guide rail (a-la Signs). She managed to stay alive for twenty minutes. Time enough for her father to return to the scene and say goodbye to his daughter. At her funeral, I met the woman who would later become my wife and the mother of my children. She is the sister of the woman who died –the other daughter of the plow truck driver.************************** WOW! This is some story! I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Thank you, Josh, for a wonderful guest post.
J. R. Wagner, (Josh to those who know him) is the author of Exiled, the first book in a series called The Never Chronicles. Exiled releases June 5th. Hobbies include reading (mostly YA), cycling, paint ball (bring it on!) triathlon, adventure racing (a sport which requires it’s own blog post to explain) and most importantly, spending time with my beautiful wife and daughters. He lives in Pennsylvania, USA.
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