As I opened up Facebook on Thursday, the last thing I expected to see was a picture of the friend I had attended a gig with on Wednesday night in a hospital bed. But that’s the first thing I did see. Right at the top of my newsfeed.
My mouth was quite honestly agape as I read through his post; detailing how his car flipped off the road, rolled down an embankment, hit a tree and landed upside down – but he managed to walk away with just a broken arm and a cut on his ear.
I tried to call him but he didn’t answer, my mouth still hanging open as I thought to myself again and again that he wouldn’t have been driving on that stretch of road had he not dropped me off at home after the gig. I felt, possibly still feel, at least partially responsible. Because he wouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for me.
I messaged him and he told me that he was on a quiet ward so couldn’t answer his phone, but that he’s fine and incredibly glad that I wasn’t in the car with him. I called him a bastard more than once for not telling me about this, for me having to find out by seeing a picture of him in hospital. He explained that he didn’t know what to say that wouldn’t have looked like he was laying blame. I understood, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I totally could have been rolling down that embankment with him. What would I have been thinking? What was he thinking?
Me: “Can just imagine you rolling around the car like ‘well, shit’.”
Him: “Yeah, freaking out ‘cus arm isn’t responding. 404.”
I was glad to know that after a near death experience he can still make a good joke, I’ve been partial to make a 404 joke or two myself too. Eventually I stopped shaking and repeatedly blaming myself. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d actually gone into shock as soon as I saw that picture, it was just so unexpected.
I don’t think I know anyone that’s been in a car accident before, I’ve always wondered what’s going through the mind of someone that’s rolling down an embankment. Someone that’s managed to drag themselves out of a wreckage. Did he have to climb back up the embankment and dial 999? Would he have been able to tell them exactly where he was because it wasn’t a journey he’d done before? What if his legs had broken, he wouldn’t have been able to make it to the road, how would he have let them know where he was then?
What on earth would I have been thinking or doing if I’d been in the car too? If I went into shock just seeing the picture of him in a hospital bed what use would I be in the real thing? Then again, we hear countless stories of people of all ages remaining composed and being brilliant in situations such as these, hopefully I would be able to act on autopilot and help myself or anyone else if I were to be in or witness something such as this.
We’re going to talk it through when we next see one another, which I’m grateful for, but I’m not sure I can ask the above questions in case it causes him to remember the crash. I feel it’s kind of similar to wanting to ask your grandparents about what it was like to be involved in the war but not wanting to cause them any pain through reliving those memories.
Bottom line I’m just so thankful that he’s okay, but still so acutely aware of the fact that it could have happened to the both of us.