i watch the tree coming at us and all at once i really know the feeling of imminent doom. impact and then i look through a blur at broken glass, heaps of twisted metal, seemingly endless miles of tree bark and branches. and there's two of everything, maybe three or four but who can tell. in and out and in and out again and again and there are people and fire and more people, spotlights and headlights and fire extinguishers, and then a loud roar and i'm out. pain in my legs and pain in my head and pain in my chest and a helicopter and i'm out again. when i get to the hallways of linoleum and white white walls there is my mother and i say "i'm really sorry mom" and she says "why? was it your fault?" and although years later i find out she's being sarcastic, for a long time i think she's mad at me for screwing up yet again. i'm out and in and out and finally out out out.
the icu is bright and i can't talk and there's tubes everywhere, beeping and humming and purring and people everywhere and i learn i've been asleep for two weeks and i NEED to check my voicemail. maybe i was in the newspaper. tell me what's broken, i know that things aren't where they're supposed to be...and one other thing, i already know about the leg so spare me the gruesome details please. take this tube out of my throat i can't talk, i want to talk, i NEED to talk please i have too many questions to spell out on a laminated alphabet. let's hear the list: broken ankle, broken kneecap, dislocated kneecap, broken femur in two places, punctured lungs, punctured liver (kidney? i never remember) and the obvious. okay go back to sleep, no you can't take out that tube because you can't breathe on your own yet and you'll die. oh yeah, don't move that arm, your collarbone is broken too. sorry, we keep forgetting about that. pull this tube out NOW i need need NEED to talk please, i have to check my voicemail. someone might have called, a boy might like me, maybe someone didn't know that i'm here, maybe my friends are wondering if i'm ignoring them, maybe they hate me and i'm friendless and 16 and legless and alone. well everyone knows, it's in the newspaper and on the nightly news and morphine is fantastic and i'm asleep. in and out and in and out out out.
tubes are out, bandages are removed and changed daily, the residents come through like a pack of wolves hungrily eyeing my rare injuries and reconstructions and poking prodding and ignoring ME. but it's okay, they're america's future doctors, surgeons, geniuses. so they say. days and weeks and they tell me i have months to go, but gyllian and katie and i decide that i'm fine and i'm smuggled into a wheelchair and pushed 100 miles an hour down hallways and elevators, through cafeterias, and there's the front door! oh great sliding glass of freedom! i'm there, i'm there, i'm out and oh hi mom! hi doctor! i'm ready! i'm ready to leave! i'm not ready. well i thought i was, but i guess you're the experts. let's make a deal: one more week and i'm outta here and i have school waiting for me and 300 stuffed animals to take home and thank you notes to write and i'm 16 and i want to smoke cigarettes and drink beer and have sex, duh. even one legged girls need to get laid, you know.