Chapter Four: The Accident*
After we exchanged numbers, I wasn’t sure if I would ever hear from M.
It had taken me so long to even have a conversation with him that I wasn’t convinced that he was interested enough to call… so I made plans to go home for the weekend. My best friend B had a car on campus, and he offered to drive me as he was also heading home and it was sort of on his way.
It was not the relaxing respite I was hoping for–I ended up catching a horrible cold and was sick the whole weekend. By the time B arrived to pick me back up on Sunday night, my voice had descended several octaves to what what I lovingly call my “man voice”. As we drove back to Toronto that evening, my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered in my deepening sick man-voice…
…only to hear M’s voice on the other line.
I could tell that he was confused about what was happening–I didn’t sound like myself, I was in a car and he could hear another man’s voice and laugh in the background. I explained my man-voice and spur of the moment trip with B, and promised to call back later that night when I got home.
I remember feeling so surprised that he called, and those little butterflies that I felt every time I saw him exploded in my stomach. I was excited and nervous–I remember how much I wanted him to like me. After B dropped me off at my residence, I sat down on my bed, took a deep breath and called him back.
We talked for almost an hour that night about everything and nothing. After spending weeks trying to get him to say two words to me, I was surprised at just how easy he was to talk to. He was warm and funny, and the more we spoke, the more I liked him. Before we hung up we began discussing the possibility of “hanging out” (a non-threatening term for “date” in case he wasn’t interested in me that way), and made plans to talk again soon.
December was a blur of midterms and assignments, as well as the occasional phone call from M. I was still dating T, but as I went home for the Christmas holidays, it became clear to me where my heart was headed. Shortly after I returned to school in January, I broke things off with T, knowing that M was slowly but surely stealing my heart.
In early January I was able to get tickets to a professional women’s league hockey event about an hour away, and I invited him to go with me. I didn’t have a car, so he agreed to pick me up from campus and then we’d drive together in his car.
We made plans to go, but we never made it to the game.
A few days before our “date”, M called to cancel. After feeling like his walls were coming down and he was letting me in, the conversation felt vague and a little forced. He told me he had been in an accident and that he wasn’t able to drive to the game–though he casually downplayed the extent of what had happened.
I began to wonder if he just didn’t want to go, or if it was some sign from the universe that this date just wasn’t meant to happen.
We spoke again a few days later, and I decided to give it one last shot. I had been invited to go night skiing with my parents and siblings as part of a “friends and family” event, and I asked him if he wanted to come. To me it sounded more like just “hanging out” and less like a date, but it also meant that he’d have to meet my family so I wasn’t sure what he’d say.
To my surprise, he said yes… and thus we set off on one of the worst first dates of all time. ❤️
It wasn’t until some time later that I learned the whole truth about that accident.
One evening, a few days before we were supposed to go to the hockey game, M drove to meet with some friends about 45 minutes east of where he lived. While he was out it began to snow quite heavily, and the highway he needed to take to get home is more rural and not well lit in some areas. It was late at night, and as he came around a corner he hit a patch of black ice. The car began to slide and he lost control, slamming into a huge wooden traffic sign before rolling down a 30ft ravine into the darkness. The car landed on its roof less than a foot away from a massive tree trunk that would have utterly crushed the car had he hit it.
By some miracle, another vehicle had been traveling behind him and saw his tail lights disappear in the blinding snow. This man pulled off the highway and found the vehicle at the bottom of the hill, with M upside down and unconscious inside. The man, not wanted to move him for fear of greater injury, called 911 and a towing company that thankfully, was only a few kilometers down the road.
After several minutes M regained consciousness and was able to crawl from the car though a broken window. From where he was he looked up to see the towing company and the man who had seen him go over at the top of the ravine waiting for the ambulance. He crawled to the top and by some miracle walked away with only minor cuts and bruising. I remember his mother recounting this story to me while we were dating and she began to cry when she talked about picking the pieces of broken glass out of his hair when he finally got home that night.
When I eventually saw photos of the accident, I completely understood why he wouldn’t have wanted to drive such a distance on a winter’s night again.
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[Original Post: http://lifeisgoodblog.ca/2008/03/chapter-four-the-accident.html/]