All the signs were showing me that 2014 was going to be a particularly interesting year. I had no idea at the time just how eventful it would turn out to be, but I really should have picked up on some of the signs that the universe was throwing at me. If I had been paying any attention at all, I would have spent that entire year as a recluse. But then again, some of the most memorable trips are those unplanned.
This is a fact that I can attest to, having had quite a few of those eventful and head shaking moments etched in my history. Some filled with memories of pain, others with burning passion, and others that just makes you scratch and shake your head. However, they have all left me with nostalgic gems that makes daydreaming beach days an amusing celestially cerebral event.
2014 in particular was a… for lack of a better term, “just fucked”. It is a year I reminisce on from time to time to both torture and laugh at myself, whenever I get overly bored. What can I say? I’m a masochist. But that’s a story for another time.
Oh dammit, not my favorite pinky
The year began in impeccable fashion. I re-broke one of my favorite pinkies during a friendly game of soccer with some angry Jamaicans. How can a game be both angry and friendly you ask? Well, we are a passionate and expressive people. A lot of that comes out during competition. Usually in the form of very colorful words and phrases, which convey even more colorful scenarios. However, we go right back to being friends after that last whistle blows. For the most part.
A broken pinky wasn’t too bad. I mean, that was the first thing that I had broken in a couple of years. Plus I had like nine other fully functional fingers left. So I was still in good shape. And since mama didn’t raise no punk, I was back the next week.
But I really should have stayed my ass home.
I went back and pulled my groin the very next week, on the very same field. If I was a superstitious man, which I am, I would have thought that something was out to get me. Now I had a busted hand and a torn-up groin. What made things even worse is that I couldn’t even fulfill any of the disgusting things I had been sexting all day. How embarrassing is that? SMFH.
The next few days were spent avoiding any and all forms of movement that required use of my legs. I kept a very simple itinerary. BBKB and nowhere else for me was my motto. I went from my bed, to the bathroom, enjoyed scenic routes to the kitchen, and then back to bed again. Every movement triggered tremors of excruciating pain that erupted and radiated throughout my inner thighs, which meant the SS sex life had to remain docked at harbor. The frustration was palpable.
After a week and a half that was touch and go. Well, mostly touch and no go. And after seeing my life flash before my groin, I was glad to be back on my feet. A little achy, but mobile baby.
The bullshit kept on happening.
Now, in all honesty. My imagination does tend to run wild from time to time, but not this time. There was something coming. It was like I was 30 minutes into the movie The Omen, when weird shit starts happening, and a feeling that something even bigger was sitting right around the corner– lurking.
My paranoia grew worse over the next few. Close call, after close call of almost being hit by crazy South Floridian drivers. Being a bit mindful of how the year had progressed so far, I was a bit cautious when Independence day came around. You know, with all the mini-explosives everywhere, the drunk and uncoordinated who were lighting these said mini-deathpops, and of course Satan who refused to get thee behind me.
Not that I was scared or anything, I’m straight up OG. Still, I decided to lay low and spend a quiet night at home, with my girlfriend at the time. The poor woman being completely clueless that a great curse had befallen me. Tsk tsk, poor thing.
The night was actual pretty fun. We cooked up a couple freestyle burgers, popped open a bottle of red wine, threw Netflix on and started a party of our own. Nothing combustible, but definitely some fireworks.
Nearly four hours later after some good food and grown up time, I decided to call up my baby brother to hang out for a little. It was time to start the birthday celebrations. It was the 4th of July, which was his birthday, with mine quickly approaching on the 5th. This usually resulted in us enjoying some kind of consolidated birthday celebration, but always fun nevertheless.
Time to get the show on the road
As soon as I called I could hear the rumblings of people trying to speak at once, creating and orchestra of confusion playing in the background
Me: “Hey, what’s up?”.
Bro: “Um.. we got into an accident, so we’re still here”.
Me: “What accident?”
Just in time before a semi-coronary took me home to meet sweet Jesus (“I’m coming Elizabeth, this is the big one”). My brother finished his statement, after a long dramatic pause, to tell me that everyone was fine. That included my 94 year old grandma, who I adore, God bless her heart.
I was of course very thankful to hear that everyone was doing just fine and completely unharmed. But in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but to think,
“Satan, you son of a bitch, this is between me and you. Leave my family out of this.”
We took a shower, got dressed and headed over to my mother’s house to join the party. After performing the State Farm injury double check to confirm everyone was A-OK. We started making plans to get a couple bottles of liquor and some food, then coming back for an in-house independence double birthday jamboree.
The entourage included myself and girlfriend, my baby sister and her boyfriend, and my baby brother.
We headed over to Walmart but struck-out on getting any liquor. We decided to table that and headed over to Wendy’s to get some burgers instead. I was sure we could have dug up something mom had hidden, to solve our alcohol dilemma.
We made our way through the Wendy’s drive through. Vroom vroom, order order. I told the cashier my order. Everyone else of course shouted out theirs in chorus, temporarily relieving me of the ability to hear out of my right ear.
After ordering enough to feed a small town, I pulled up to the window, paid and took our drinks and bags, and handed them out for everyone to do a once over. After some back and forth, we finally pulled off.
I was the driver and behind me sat my brother, my girlfriend to his right in the center, and my baby sister in the passenger seat, with her boyfriend sitting behind her.
I remember nothing beyond this point, before…
Driving off from that Wendy’s window, some time after midnight, is the last thing that I can remember, before waking up in the back of an ambulance. I remember not being able to move or feel anything. I couldn’t see much either. It was as though I was looking through an opaque window with flashing lights outside.
I could hear voices mumbling, discussing something. Then the voices suddenly stopped. One of the voices, in a very calm and casual tone said to me, “Hey buddy, we’re gonna have to cut your pants off”. To which I answered, very nonchalantly and I’m guessing under the influence of some very powerful narcotics, “oh man, it’s my favorite one too…. Oookay then- fine”.
After those words left my mouth, I was out again. I woke up a few hours later laying in the ICU feeling like a truck had hit me, multiple times. At the door was a nurse, with others walking back and forth outside the glass windows..
I remember laying there taking everything in, asking myself how the hell did I get here, and then trying to sit up only to have a rib collapsing pain squeeze every molecule of the air from my lungs.
I can recall my mom walking in shortly after with a look of tremendous relief on her face, her words coming in rapid fire, concerned with how I was feeling.
After telling her I couldn’t remember much, she began giving me the brief version of what had happened to us. Someone had sped through the red light, heading south on Flamingo road, T-boning our red Malibu that was heading east on Pines Boulevard. Which all explained why I was in a hospital bed unable to breath without being bear hugged by pain, and why on my left there was an arm length noodle with fingers.
“Where is everyone, are they OK”?
I felt an intense panic rush through my body, like a surge of electricity, sending my heart rate and breathing into overdrive. Which turned out to be the worse thing I could have done. The pain, coupled with my increased heavy breathing, felt as if Mike Tyson, in his prime, was standing over me punching the living shit out of my ribs and chest, every time I took breath. The faster I breathed, the harder he would punch.
It was unbelievably painful, and extremely inconvenient just laying there feeling helpless. Seeing that I was determined to get out of bed somehow, my nurse convinced me to wait long enough to be medicated for the pain and to get a rundown on my injuries.
Excuse me? what did I break?
I had broken all the ribs on my left side, damaged and lost use of my left arm, fractured my scapula, had a hemothorax, a pneumothorax, and airbag burns to the left of my face. Pretty wild day, and I was still only about 12 hours or so into my 28th birthday.
In the middle of my nurse reading through what sounded like a to do list, two detectives walked in. I don’t remember much about them to be honest. I do remember liking the jacket one of them had on, and wondering why he was wearing it. It was summer in South Florida after all.
After the nurse was through, the came in and spent about a half hour asking me questions on what had happened.
I didn’t have much answers to give. The only thing that had come back to me about those missing few minutes is a brief memory of me pulling out of the plaza back onto Pines Boulevard and heading west. Nothing before and nothing after, until the ambulance.
I received a stimulating depiction of the entire accident and how it had presumably unfolded This I got in the form of a grade 5 illustration. Very artistic and inspiring work.
However, after being told that the driver who had hit us, was simply treated and sent home, I lost interest in the conversation. I had more important things to think about, like how everyone else was doing.
To be continued….