Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Accident

She stood in the bright clear sun, feeling it's warmth on the front of her body. She could see the white puffs coming from her mouth as she breathed in the bitterly cold air. Each breath she took required energy she no longer had. The air seemed to freeze the moisture in her eyes and nose. No longer did she even acknowledge the pain in her numb hands and feet. Her body had ceased to shiver long ago. Now her muscles just remained tensed up trying to hold in what little warmth they could.

Still she had to keep going. Taking a deep fortifying breath was a mistake, the air turned to ice in her lungs practically making her double over from the pain, but she made her feet move, trudging forward praying she was still moving towards the small town she knew was out there somewhere. She had to reach it before another night descended. It wasn't only her life that depended on this. It was also the lives of her eight year old son Kyle and Jacob their big old mutt of a dog.

After the accident she had tried and tried to start the car to no avail. They had waited out the rest of the first day sure that another car would pass. Nothing. She couldn't believe an entire afternoon had passed with no other vehicles on that small windy road. Thank God she had a habit of taking way too many snacks for a road trip. Kyle was chubby but she knew he'd grow into himself and scoffed at people who told her to quit letting him snack. So there was a ready supply of junk food in the car. As night fell on that first day she emptied their suit cases and made Kyle layer what ever clothes he could. She took the towels and a blanket and made a sort of nest for them in the back seat of the car. They had spent that first night shivering in a pile tightly curled together in that makeshift nest. The extra warmth from that big goofy dog, that she always threatened to give away, may possibly have saved their lives.

She formed a plan that night. Praying to God she wouldn't have to put it into effect. The next morning after the sun rose enough to give warmth she allowed Kyle to get out of the car. He and Jake didn't seem to realize the dire situation they were in. To them it was an adventure. Kyle got upset with her for making him stay as dry as possible, while she worked at pushing snow up around the bottom of the car to keep the wind from entering. She cleared all the snow from the windows hoped the sun's heat would some how remain inside. Then they waited. Letting Jacob out occasionally, he ate snow and was excited when she gave him a small handful of teddy grahams. She and Kyle also ate snow when they got thirsty, he thought it was fun. They had juice boxes but they were frozen solid now. Still no one came.

When the sun reached it's peak she told Kyle about her plan. He cried that he wanted to go along as she told him she was going to look for help. She knew it was dangerous, that you were not supposed to walk away from an accident in the winter. But what was she to do. No cars had passed in almost 24 hours. She had arranged the food in the trunk of the car in little piles, a bit for Jake was also placed aside. She showed Kyle how to rip open the top of a juice box and lick it like a popsicle. She gave strict orders that they were to stay in the car unless they had to 'go' and that Kyle was to only get food when he absolutely needed it and no matter how much Jake begged he was to only get what was set aside for him. She showed Kyle how to curl the clothes and blanket into a tighter nest and they tested out to see if Jake would allow Kyle to keep his stocking feet on his belly. That damned dog seemed to understand and he curled up close to her son. Kyle tucked himself into a ball with feet and hands on Jake's belly. She told him that was how he was supposed to sleep if he got tired. She also told him that she hoped to be back before night fell so he wouldn't have to worry about that, it was a 'just in case' thing. She gave him her watch and told him that every hour he was to blow the horn on the car two or three times.

Then before too much of the day passed she had walked away. Smiling and waving until she turned away from the car, then the tears had began to stream down her face. Stinging a trail as they fell. Still she kept walking. Following the uncleared road. She was cursing herself for not having a cell phone, for not buying a GPS thing-a-ma-bob. She hadn't even bought Kyle one of those little handheld game systems he wanted so badly. That would have helped him pass the time. Instead he was alone in a freezing car, with a dog, some word puzzles and a few magazines. And there she was walking away from him with two small bags of potato chips and a juice box that was frozen solid in her pockets.

The hardest moment was when she turned back and realized she couldn't see the car anymore. She almost went back. Her entire being wanted to run back to Kyle and hold him close. But still she kept walking.

Looking up she had noticed there were no power lines on this road. They had been driving looking for a road that would lead to Route 4 and to Kyle's Father's house. She had gotten lost after misreading her map and they had seemed to be going in circles. She had been looking at that map when she allowed the car to leave the road and hit and embankment, hard. They were shaken up but okay. The car on the other hand.. well you know that part.

Johnathan couldn't stand the site of her and had wished her dead on many occasions but he loved his son and he would be looking for them when they didn't show up. Hopefully they weren't too far off course.

That afternoon as the sun began it's slow decent she felt the air begin to change quickly. A light breeze lifted and the cold had begun to seep into her bones. Her feet hurt from walking and now they were going numb. Not a feeling-less numbness but a painful aching numbness that made each step painful. When it got almost too dark to see anymore she had found a thicket of bushes by the side of the road and made herself a place to sit on the downwind side. She knew it sounded crazy but she had read somewhere that snow was a great insulator so she laid some pine branches down to sit on, pulled some up over her and them worked as much snow up around herself as she could. And she cried. Thinking about Kyle and doubting what she had done in leaving him. She should have sat there in that car and waited with him. She must have slept a bit after that. She woke to a faint light in the sky and a body so stiff she could barely move. Once she got up she relieved herself and ate a few of the now crushed potato chips. She felt the juice box and surprisingly it wasn't quite solid so she jammed the straw in and took a few slushy sips. When she was done she placed it in her pocket and tried to not squeeze it or tilt it. Then she had set off again.

She didn't know if the day had been getting colder or if it was just her. The wind had definitely picked up. She kept going. She kept hearing phantom vehicles, up ahead, behind her. She would lift her head and turn only to see nothing except once she saw a deer. That crazy animal was pawing at the ground looking for some leftover vegetation under the snow as if it were seventy degrees outside.

Every now and then she would stop and holler as loud as she could. The only sounds that came back were on occasional echo of her own voice and the whoosh of a startled bird.

Again the sun's decent had brought a quick drop in temperature and she made a bed. She kept rocking herself back and forth fearing that if she fell asleep again she would not waken. Then Kyle would be alone. Kyle. Kyle. Oh God please keep Kyle safe. She convinced herself that Johnathan had found Kyle and Jake and they were having a nice hot dinner forgetting completely about her, but she didn't care because Kyle was safe.

As soon as she realized her eyes were accustomed to the bit of light coming from the moon and reflecting on the snow so that she could still see enough to not go off the road she had gotten up and began walking again. She had stumbled and fell a lot last night. She wasn't quite sure if it was from tripping in the dark or if it was her numb body or just exhaustion , but each time she got back up and kept moving forward, for Kyle.

Which brings her to now. Standing there, face to the sun again, lips cracked and bleeding, trying to make her feet begin to move again. They refused. She crumpled forward landing hard on her knees, hands flung out instinctively to catch herself, the sharp icy crust on top of the snow cutting into them as her arms gave out too and her face slammed to the crusty snow. She wanted to cry. She wanted to die. She wanted Kyle. She wanted to sleep. Her body would not move.

Then she heard it. Someone was calling her name. She tried to answer. She tried to lift her head. Tears came streaming down her face. Her mind screamed "Help! I'm here!" but nothing came out. She forced her hands up under her and lifted with all her might. She had to answer. Kyle's life depended on it. She managed to roll onto her back and a scratchy screech came from her. She started flailing her arms around and making as much noise as she could.

After what seemed like eternity she gave up. Convinced she had been hearing things. She lay there silent and defeated. She had failed Kyle. She had failed that dumb dog. She was going to die here in this stupid white snow and some poor schmuck would find her come spring.

Stop it!! Don't give up Kyle needs you. Her soul rallied and screamed at her. Somehow she managed to force her body to sit up. Then she saw it, a spot of bright color flashing just ahead. Blue then red. Red then blue. The hands were lifting her before she even realized there were two men kneeling beside her. She fully opened her eyes and tried to tell them about Kyle. All that came out before she passed out was his name.

The rangers that finally found her on the old logging road were scared she wasn't going to make it. They thought that she was dead when they saw her in the distance but then she had begun to move and make sounds. They had lifted her and bundled her into the pickup with the heater on as high as it would go. Driving to the hospital she had remained unconscious but her moans and groans were witness to the agony her body was going through as it warmed up.

Johnathan Mayers had gone looking for his son after his ex Gail had failed to show up for Christmas Eve. Had it been any other person besides Gail, Johnathan said he would have figured that she had decided to keep his son from him to hurt him. But being that it was her and how strongly she felt about him being in Kyle's life, he knew something was wrong and had gone looking for them. When he had found the car crashed along Welliver Road his life had passed before his eyes. He had discovered his son scared, cold and weary curled up in the back seat with that damned dog she insisted on keeping, but otherwise safe and sound. Kyle had quickly told him how Mommy went to get help. Johnathan had immediately called the police and after Kyle settled down enough to point which direction she had gone, it was simple enough to see that after the wreck when the car had spun she hadn't realized which way it was pointing and instead of walking on the township road she was walking on an old logging road headed away from where she should be going.

He wanted to help find her, remembering that at one time in his life he had loved her as if she was the only thing that mattered. He realized in that moment he still loved her just not in the same way. Now he loved her as the Mother of his son not as his partner. Every hateful thing he ever said to her came rushing to his mind and all he wanted to do was find her and apologize but he had to stay with Kyle in the hospital.

Three nights out there. Two of those nights she walked through the winter to try and find help for their son. Was she even alive? She had better be.

When the call came saying they had found her and were on the way to the hospital, Johnathan woke Kyle up and told him Mommy was on her way.

He was waiting at the emergency room doors when she was brought in. She was barely conscious, ravaged by the wind and cold. Her face was an odd pale color and there was bleeding and bruising on it. Her lips were blue and cracked. Her hair was matted flat to her head. One hand was out from under the blankets they had wrapped around her. They were hooking an IV up to it, the palm was ripped and bloody. He stopped them as they tried to wheel her past. He leaned down and said "Thank you, Gail. Kyle is safe." Then they were taking her away.

Two weeks later Gail was allowed to leave the hospital. Her wounds were healing, she lost her little finger on her right hand and her feet still tingled but the doctors said that would go away in time.

Kyle had had mild hypothermia and dehydration. Jake had been the same and poor Jake's tail had to be amputated. That dog had kept Kyle warm and safe. Damn stupid hero dog, who now had the nickname Stubby.

She would be happy to see that dog and give him all the treats and belly rubs he ever wanted.

She was going to take her boy home today. But first they were going to have a belated Christmas slash New Year celebration at Johnathan's house.

In some ways that accident was the best thing to happen to them in a long time. She and Johnathan respected each other now. They both loved Kyle, as always, but now they were able to remember the love in the "accident" that had created him. They would never be a couple again but they could be friends and parents to him, together.


Anonymous said...

Chickee, I'm so glad that you're writing again! I'm bookmarking your blog with hope that I will have reason to visit OFTEN! :0)

You have a wonderful imagination and gift of "story." I loved the way you closed this piece with hope, pointing to the truth that hard things often make us and life better.

xoxo Katy

Chickee said...

I just read this again and now I see all the discrepancies and typos. Oh well, I still enjoy the "feel" of it and will let it remain as it is.

It felt good to let the words out again. I hadn't know I was missing it. =)

And you know me always a hppy ending. =)


Chickee said...

oops I meant Happy ending. LoL

One of these days I might actually learn to type.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chickee, Katy recommended your blog on Facebook. Nice story. I'm bookmarking you too. :) -Evelyn

Chickee said...

Thank you. Also bookmarking me, Evelyn. =)

kdgator said...

Hey Chris... I'm bookmarking you, little blogger. ;) Nice write. ~ Kev

Chickee said...

Hi Kev! =) Thank you. I'm not sure if I am back to being the little blogger yet but I think I might write more than I have been. =)

Just Kate said...

I came back to read this again and I want to leave another comment. :0) This paragraph is absolutely wonderful, Chickee:

"She crumpled forward landing hard on her knees, hands flung out instinctively to catch herself, the sharp icy crust on top of the snow cutting into them as her arms gave out too and her face slammed to the crusty snow. She wanted to cry. She wanted to die. She wanted Kyle. She wanted to sleep. Her body would not move."

The words have such cadence and you've put me inside of your character so that I can feel what it's like to be her in that moment. I love it!

Chickee said...

Thank you Kate. That means a lot to me. =)