I bought a new phone today. The kind that plugs into the wall (I’ll talk about the other kind a little bit tomorrow, I think). Our old one has been broken for a few weeks, but I didn’t care until today – I have someone I need to call.
A friend of mine had a bicycle accident a few weeks ago, just before I went to Canada. She’s there. In Canada. With a broken face.
I didn’t see her while I was there. It’s not that I didn’t want to see her. It’s just that time was short (six days, I believe, in actual measure) and I was dealing with my own shit. By which I mean that my mother died in January and I was there to assist in the spreading of her ashes around a garden.
In retrospect, the needs of a seriously injured close friend were more important than most of my peripheral obligations in Canada (if not the ceremony itself), but life conspires against me. I was not aware until late in the week that my friend was hurt, and she was in no shape to meet us while we were out with other friends. And my pre-existing emotional fetal position was unable to re-arrange my priorities to take in the severity of my friend’s injuries and act accordingly while in the vicinity.
So now I need a phone.
I don’t know if the phone is a good idea or not. It may be useless. Which is not to say without use – I’m sure my grandmother will be happy, tomorrow, when I press it into service again. But in that the purpose for which the purchase was intended – to call my injured friend – might be fruitless.
She was riding her bicycle to work. There was an accident. She has a concussion. Or a post-concussion. Or … whatever this is called by medical professionals where a severe blow to the head means that you have to avoid what the rest of us would term “living” for an extended period of time.
I don’t even know if she can receive phone calls. A large part of me is wondering if I shouldn’t just be engaging in an email exchange with her. But I’m not – I won’t – because I already missed seeing her in person. I can at least see her in voice.
If she’s even allowed to answer the phone. If she should even be listening to a phone ring. Doctor’s orders can be strange things, and this is uncharted territory.
I should probably also talk to her before hitting the “Publish” button to my right. I will not do this. I will call her after publishing this. I term this “Bloggeritis”.
There is a bicycle hire scheme in London. These bicycles are affectionately called “Boris Bikes”. I have a key for these, and can ride them at any time.
I do not.
I think of my friend, riding to work. I think of my friend, waking up in an ambulance. Or a hospital. I’m not sure where she woke up.
I wonder if I might be more unlucky than she was. That I might share the same bad luck of an accident, but not share the good luck of waking up. I think of my daughter, and wonder if she would remember me if that happened.
I think of my mother, and know that my daughter will never remember her. She loves her very much, right now, but will not remember ever having met her. This is the saddest thing I know. I cannot stand the thought of her not remembering me. I cannot unlock a Boris Bike.
It is two-and-a-half years since a friend of mine, from high school, died in a bicycle accident. I don’t think of him often. I didn’t think of him often. We weren’t close in high school. If we were any less close, calling him a “friend from high school” would feel disingenuous. But I knew him then, and I liked him.
He shared my much closer friend’s bad luck of a bicycle accident. He did not share her good luck. He did not wake up, in an ambulance or a hospital.
We weren’t close. But I continue to be struck by how his absence can sneak up on me and sadden me, to this day. A person I never expected to see again, should he be alive, impacts my life through his death.
Bicycles scare me now. I suspect I’ll get over it.
If you’ll excuse me now, I have a phone call to make.