03 January, 2013

Winter Blues (A Theme Thursday Long-ish Short Story)

I woke up late in the day. Again. I was having a particularly bad dream, and having mixed feelings about having woken up one more time. I sighed and began reflecting on how intensely my dreams mirrored almost exactly the actual events a whole year later. Not to mention that my legs still hate me. The dream was about the accident, which I suppose makes sense, as this time last year, I (myself, my body. I didn't have a car at that point) was side-swiped by a Jeep.

I had been walking up a dangerously sloped and curved hill to meet up with some woman I was being set up on a blind date with. She was...an artist? I think? It didn't really matter, as I hadn't made it to the date. Hell, I didn't even want to go on it. It was the end of December, which meant it was the coldest point of the year, and I had actually been considering moving to a Southern state, or even near (or on) the Equator. Or the Sun. I heard it almost never gets cold on the Sun.

Instead of being out and social, I just wanted to be hibernating, but I was told again and again that I get moody when the only person I talk to at home is my cat. I, according to my friends, need to be in a relationship.

These were the thoughts I was trying to block out as I was listening to my mp3 player while speedwalking to keep from freezing to death, when a car's horn cut through the music. I looked up in time to see a green Jeep Cherokee whip around a car trying to pull onto the hill, and it practically flew into the first turn. I thought that the driver must either be a psycho or drunk, as the holiday season ended tonight at midnight. Either way, I was just glad to be on the other side of the road, going up while it was going down.

Which is what would have happened if there hadn't been a patch of black ice that stretched across the street. I stopped walking so I could provide a witness statement to this drunkard's accident when he struck the invisible strip of ice and shot into the right lane at a 45-degree angle and directly at me.

It gets kind of fuzzy from there, but I can remember some still shots. The first one is of the look on the driver's face. He looked serene, almost calm. His eyes were closed and he was smiling! I later found out that he had a vision of his death the night previous. That face was him apparently surrendering to his god. Douchebag.

The next is the Jeep hitting a second ice patch and launching into a spin. I remember thinking it looked like a top and smiling at the memory of one of my favorite childhood toys instead of engaging my goddamn legs.

The next photograph comes mostly in black, with those red lightningbugs that shoot into your vision from squeezing them too tight. It's a different sensation. This isn't a visual photo. It's tactile, as this is the moment I was smacked by the rear end of the Jeep and began my arc into the street. I remember the sound of my foot breaking on the downbeat of some song I can't listen to anymore, as it gives me panic attacks and the feeling of my arm dislocating, the smell of gasoline and the taste of blood in my mouth. And the blackness.

Long story short, I flew across the street, bounced off a small, red Saturn parked there, and landed in a heap on the sidewalk.

Rolling stiffly over to lean on my elbows, I look at my alarm clock, resting on the windowsill, to see how much of my day I've wasted. The first thing I notice is that the sun is setting. I feel like shit now, but my clock is telling me it's only 330p.

"That's not so bad, eh?" I say to Penelope, my gray tabby, curled up in her cardboard box. She doesn't even look up at me, choosing to start snoring instead. Bitch. I decide that maybe it's time for me to do something instead of moping. I push the blankets half off of me before rushing them back up. I'm freezing. And in my own goddamn bedroom, too.

"Let's try something else, P," I grunt to her. She is still fast asleep. I wrap my comforters around my body, cocooning myself, and slide my legs off the bed. The bottoms of my feet instantly become gangrenous upon touching the floor. The blood can't circulate fast enough to keep the tissue warm and alive.

At least, that's what it feels like. I mumble some swears as I yank my feet back up and then drape the comforters over them so when I stand back up, they'll be between my feet and the floor. And it works! In my little cocoon, I shuffle into the bathroom to prepare myself for the day. The shower's hot water arrives after five minutes (and sixteen seconds, for you statisticians) and departs four minutes (and fifty-six seconds) later.

I towel-dry off, and shuffle back into my room. I throw on four layers on both top and bottom as quickly as I can. My jacket, hat, gloves, boots (over three pairs of socks), and scarf go on, and then I decide it's time for me to go to the post office, as I am expecting a package today.

I make it outside, which is a notable event as this is the first time since early September (we had an early Winter and no Autumn) that I have left my apartment. The driveway is shovelled and it actually turns out to be a nice day for a walk. I begin thinking to myself that I'll have to do this more often. Maybe it's time for a complete change. Maybe I'll build snowmen, or go sledding, or visit a friend with some hot cocoa.

I realize, at this point, that I am beaming with hope. Things are going to change, I can feel it! However, I don't even get a chance to finish the thought before I can see one of my own feet almost in the middle of my field of vision as I look straight ahead, causing me to fall down. 'How ironic,' I think to myself on the way down. 'This year, I am the one who hit a patch of ice.'

My head bounces off the railroad ties my landlord uses for planters in front of the building, and I wind up rolling onto the sidewalk, perfectly out of view of the street due to a snowbank, and the building itself because of the stupid shrubs and trees in the planter being coated in snow. I start to panic, because with the the rest of the tenants all working second-shift, I'm the only one home for a long while, and with the forecasted blizzard tonight, no one's walking, they're all driving to the store for supplies to wait out the snowmageddon, as the local news is calling it.

Once again, everything fades to black within moments of striking the ground. The last thing I remember thinking is "Goddamn it, I hate winter so goddamn much."


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, thank you. That was part of the challenge I was going for. It's ever so good to know that it was accomplished.

  2. I absolutely love, love, love this story! "or even near (or on) the Equator. Or the Sun. I heard it almost never gets cold on the Sun."- Best line. I laughed so hard.

    I completely relate to the hibernating in winter. I am a hermit most of Winter. Sometimes, I too, come out with renewed hope only to have it smashed into bits. Poor guy.

    1. Yeah, the sun bit is one of my favorite lines. I've actually said that before, too. I think I'd like to be a hermit during winter, but one of he similarities between Narrator and I is the fact that our rooms are cold, and I am a giant wuss when it comes to coldness.

  3. WOW!! I love this!! I love the visuals, although they are sad I love that you can evoke that saddness!! Awesome!! Now I have to follow your blog!

    1. Wow, thank you so much. That means more than I can say. I'm so glad my story was able to strike such a chord with you. I would love to have you following, and I'll even follow back!

  4. I love the details in this story. Very well written.

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad that you found the details to be exciting.

  5. Well written, I especially love "i heard it almost never gets cold there".