One of my least favorite things to do is cross the road.
This time last year, I was hit by a vehicle and broke my hip and one of my legs. I was in the hospital for some weeks, and also had to spend a few months at home.
The first thing I remember is pain: the worst pain I had felt in my life, when a doctor worked to immobilize my broken leg. Later, my sister told me she had never heard me scream that way, and I don’t even recall screaming. It was mostly a painful blur.
The first days were filled with so much uncertainty. I remember there were times when it seemed like the terror and pain would suffocate me. I tried to keep it together those first days. Then I was told I’d have to be admitted in the hospital for at least six weeks and that I would need surgery and I started to cry. I just wanted to go home.
My first morning on the ward, someone tried to get us all to sing and have a ‘morning devotion’. I cannot walk and you people want me to be singing? At 7am. Please you people should leave me alone.
For a couple of weeks the major emotion I felt was anger. A lot of that anger was towards God, but I surely had enough to spare for people.
Some of my friends didn’t come to see me for a while, and when they eventually showed up, I delivered an Oscar worthy performance, gave them a piece of my mind, while playing the guilt card heavily. It was nothing short of dramatic, and I surprised even myself. I was on a number of painkillers so that might have enhanced my performance. Till this day I have no regrets about any of it.
The first time I got on my feet, in a walking cast, was six weeks after. As I took the first few steps, I was hit by such a wave of dizziness that I started to fall and could barely breathe. I remember my mom saying prayers over me then, and now that I think about it, all I can do is smile and maybe cry a little. Thank God I can smile about that now.
I got back on my feet and resumed school, and for a while I couldn’t take public transport or cross the road, because I would start to panic as it seemed every vehicle was headed my way. I talked to someone who helped me through it. Emotional healing would be even slower and I had to let it take its time. The panic I felt was part of the process and I would get through it.
Needless to say, this past week was intense and emotional as many scenes from last year came reeling through my mind. I didn’t want to leave my room, all I wanted to do was stay under my bed covers. I had to keep my mind occupied constantly as it wandered at the slightest chance.
My heart skips when I’m in a car and the brakes are hit too fast or there’s a sudden swerve. I prefer the backseat because that way I can’t really see what is going on. Sometimes the thought of it all comes rushing and instead of suppressing it, I let it pass through me and give way to the thought of other things, things I have learnt.
I have learnt to feel fear but also to never let it overstay. I have learnt to be gentle with myself. I have learnt to refuse the urge to succumb to bad memories. I have learnt to simply allow the thoughts of things I love linger.
Falling in love.
I have heard and seen that I never walk alone. Never once.
I promised myself that once I got out of the hospital I would do things I’ve been reluctant to do, like tint my hair and learn how to swim, and also to just be present.
I have learnt how to swim, but I haven’t gotten around to the hair yet. Now, if I’m walking and Bastille’s Pompeii comes on, I will most likely start to dance because that song is my jam, and how could I not dance to my jam?
I also do this tiny scream whenever I cross the road, it’s some kind of coping mechanism. I have an habit of taking pictures of my legs too.
So, one of these days you might see a girl.
You might see a girl move to the music as she walks.
She might cross the road funny.
She might have tinted hair.
She might be me.