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The Accident

After my miscarriage, I went back to work.  Only a few weeks later, while on my way to pick up J*** at the bar, I was hit from behind.  A man had been rifling through his briefcase and slammed into a brand new Oldsmobile, which slammed into me and then shoved me into a Cadillac.  Needless to say, there wasn’t much left of the car, considering it was a Volkswagen.
An ambulance came and took me to the hospital.  There were no cell phones then, so I don’t know how I got word to J***.
I was scared and shaken up but I thought I was okay until one of the ER doctors noticed a deficit on my left side.  After an examination, it was clear that I was hurt.  The doctor suspected that I had a broken neck.  I was put in traction.  It was painful and uncomfortable and I was miserable.  I remember laying there thinking that I wouldn’t forget the date because it happened on his mama’s birthday.
J*** came to the hospital but I couldn’t tell if he was more worried about me or how he was going to get to work the next day.
Since the car was totaled, he was going to have to walk.  The newspaper wasn’t terribly far away but it was winter and it was cold.  As luck would have it, one of the reporters at the newspaper had lost his license as a result of a DUI.  He told J*** that he could use his car.  It was a wonderful gesture and we were both grateful.
I lost my job because I couldn’t work.  I wasn’t supposed to do much of anything except sit.  I had to wear a neck brace.  There was literally nothing to do at home.  I tried to do some sewing but it put a strain on my neck and I could only do it for short periods of time.  We had no television, so mostly I just waited for J*** to come home.
Back then, our meals consisted mainly of Campbell’s tomato soup.  We could get ten cans for a dollar.  J*** got off of work at three, so around three thirty, I would fix our usual soup dinner.  I’d have our bowls sitting on our two-legged table with our spoons beside them and the pot warming on the stove.
Then I would go sit at the window, watching and waiting for him.  Our duplex was right off of the main road and I could see the car as soon as he turned onto the street.
I would wait and wait and wait.  When it started getting dark, I would finally give up.
He would eventually come home, smelling like beer and I would be mad and hurt.  It seemed that he would rather go to a bar with his buddies than come home to me.  He chose beer and bars over me before we were married and I guess I was hoping that it would change afterward, but it didn’t.
There was never an “I’m sorry.”  There was never any sign that he considered my feelings and he never seemed to understand why I was upset.  His response was to get mad at me for being mad at him.
I had already begun to feel neglected but I would try to think about some of the good times….like breaking into the lamp that was made out of a liquor bottle and filled with pennies.  We counted out enough pennies to go to the drive-in and watch a movie.  I don’t think it was regretful for us and through the years we sometimes mused about it.
But, he continued to go to the bar after work, I continued to be petulant and he continued to respond with anger.
I didn’t have the maturity or the confidence to say to him, “listen.  I just lost a child.  I was in a car wreck and almost broke my neck.  I lost my job.  I’m here by myself all day.  I’d like for you to come home and spend some time with me.”
And he didn’t have the maturity to consider anybody but himself.  He had pretty much always gone to bars after work and stayed as long as he wanted to.  I wondered if that’s how it had been with his first wife.  He seemed to be somewhat self-consumed.
We didn’t talk to each other about things that were important.  We didn’t talk to each other about things that bothered us.  I shut down and he ignored me.  We were setting a destructive framework early in our marriage and it would regretfully, continue until the end of it.

2 thoughts on “The Accident

  1. Why didn’t he care? Why couldn’t you leave? How did you stay so strong? How did you hold true to keeping a marriage together? You were so brave to believe. I just don’t understand how it never works out. I want a fairy tale. This is so real.

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    • He cared…but only about himself. I couldn’t leave because I had nowhere to go and nobody to turn to for help. I took vows and I kept them. Fidelity and honor meant and still mean something to me. Obviously, they meant nothing to him.

      Liked by 1 person

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