Most teens tend to do stupid things, and I certainly wasn’t an exception to the rule. My mistakes seem to bare down on me more than the usual person however. You see, my mistakes lead to a drunken car accident with the love of my young life at the time. A woman who will never be the same as she was 10 years ago.
We were young, and oh so dumb. I thought I was a hotshot driving my dad’s ’69 Camaro he let me borrow for my junior prom. He shouldn’t have put too much trust in me though. 8 beers later I thought I could handle it. Long story short, it wasn’t long until we were in the crumpled mess that was my father’s dream car. Lindsey’s (My girlfriend) prom dress cover in her own blood caused me to black out in fear, or maybe it was all the blood I was losing, it’s hard to tell though, the entire event remains in a suppressed blur.
I remembered the sirens. The blinding lights. The screaming police and paramedics. It haunts me. Lindsey and I were both torn from the wreck and stuck in separate ambulances and rushed away like luggage. Surely the last thing I remember was the mask covering my nose and mouth and an instant wave of exhaustion washing over me.
The next thing I knew I was waking up to an empty hospital room. A dim light above my head and the rhythmic beeping of my heartrate monitor. I was instantly frightened, not knowing if Lindsey was alright, or where my parents were or even nurses for that matter. I tried to sit up but was desperately weak. To my horrific surprise, I realized from my knee down on my left leg was simply nothing, a ghost of thought reaming as I tried to move my foot. Finally a nurse burst through the door and instantly came to my aid telling me to relax. She explained to me I had been in a coma for the past 3 days. I was horrified. I knew what death felt like. I couldn’t help but cry.
Shortly after in came my parents, obviously elated to see me rise from the dead. The shower of love didn’t stop for a while, and I have to admit it felt nice after a 3 day black spot in my life. Finally I asked the nagging question. “Where’s Lindsey?” I asked multiple times. My mother’s face broke to tears as she explained to me. “She’s real banged up honey, the doctor say she has significant brain damage. I’m so sorry.” She broke to full blown sobbing. My father explaining how grateful he is that I’m alive. But all I could think about was Lindsey, and what my foolish mistakes had brought upon her. Brain damage? What kind of brain damage? I was frightened for her and disgusted in myself.
We spent a week more in that place before I could finally see Lindsey. She came into my room, timid, almost embarrassed. The nurses allowed us a brief moment of time together before she needed to get back to their care. I tried to speak to her in a loving voice, but she just seemed afraid of me, I was devastatingly, deeply saddened. She simply said hello to me and that was about as far as our conversation went. I cried for hours that night.
Weeks went by, I had to learn to walk with a fancy new prosthetic shin, something I was still mentally getting my head around. Just the thought of having a piece of my body that no longer exists creeped me out to no end. Lindsey had gotten somewhat better, her speech slowly coming back to normal. She explained to me that she had to take speech classes for hours on end just to be able to pronounce the words correctly again. She did seem a bit off though, just something about her personality, like she wasn’t quite the same girl I knew. We would eat lunch together almost every day in the cafeteria, her tastes in food totally changed. She used to hate broccoli and after the accident she just devoured it. Even her choices of music dramatically changed. It pained me to know how much of an affect my actions had on her life.
I became engrossed in her. More than ever before. I felt I owed her something, that I needed to be there for her no matter what. Whatever she wanted me to do, I wouldn’t hesitate to help her. We would hang out anytime we got the chance, I tried desperately to rebuild the connections we had before the accident. And to be honest, it was hard at times, I was trying to find the old her for a long time before I finally realized she wasn’t all there. A large portion of her old self was there, but it certainly wasn’t the same.
Over the next few months I became very committed to our relationship, getting to know this new, yet still amazing version of my old girlfriend. The strangest thing is that she still remembered a lot of things from our relationship, like corny pet names and sexual fetishes. It was so frustrating communicating with 75% of my beloved girlfriend, the other 25% surprising me in sometimes unfortunate ways. Like her sudden blind faith in Christianity, something we both were critically skeptic of a mere 8 months ago. So needless to say we didn’t talk about religion very much since it always dissolved into a fight.
I was now in my senior year of high school. A year where I’m supposed to be having the time of my life, instead I was tending to the needs of my now impaired girlfriend. I basically lost all my friends, devoting most of my time and energy to Lindsey. She was beginning to become a bit too high maintenance for me and to my surprise I was really starting to get sick of it. When I brought it up to her it escalated into a full blown fight, she threatened to kill herself if I left her and this truly frightened me. She never talked that way, ever. And I was really starting to wonder how much the accident had changed her. I couldn’t deal with the stress of thinking she killed herself over me. So I stayed.
I hated the way she spoke to me sometimes. She could be absolutely degrading. A strange part of me liked it though, it’s hard to explain. I have to admit it probably had something to do with the sex. If there was one positive from the accident, it’s the fact that it turned her into a bit of a nympho. Sometimes we would sneak out of class and go to this rarely traveled stairwell and make out on the steps. We had been caught a few times but the principle always seemed to let it slide, almost feeling sorry for us, knowing about the accident.
By the end of senior year our relationship had turned toxic. It was a vicious cycle of anger, abuse, sex and forgiveness. She hated if I ever brought up the accident, and how it changed her, or if I called her out on any of her new habits. Her new personality had a steamy temper, one that would scare me a times. She still threatened to kill herself at times, and even more freighting, to kill me. I finally started taking her threats more seriously, her words seeming to hold truth. I asked her what I needed to do to prove to her that I love her and her response worried me. She told me that if I truly loved her then I would beat up her ex-boyfriend Marcus in school the next day. Again she threatened to kill herself if I didn’t do it.
At this point I was truly worried, I knew I had to talk to her parents. I hadn’t spoken to her mom or dad since the accident, they truly hated me for what I had done to their daughter and I can’t really blame them. After Lindsey went to lacrosse practice that night I took a walk to her house. I knocked on the door and nobody answered for some time. Finally I twisted the handle and peaked my head in and called for her parents. Her dad came to the door and was immediately toxic. “What the fuck are you doing here.” He cursed at me. “Listen,” I said. “First off, I owe you a long overdue apology.” I was met with a slamming door in my face. I was stunned. I banged on the door a few more times trying to explain to him that I’m worried about Lindsey. There was no response.
I went home that night frightened for the next day. Morning came and I regretfully walked to school. By midday I had seen Lindsey a few times in the hallway looking at me with question. Finally we stopped and talked and she told me to meet her by the stairwell after lunch. So I did and sure enough back came the crazy talk. “So are you going to do it?”
“Lindsey. No. I’m not going to beat the shit out of Marcus just to prove that I love you. Why are you trying to make me do this?” I argued with her.
“You can’t even do one little thing I ask you to do? When did you become such a pussy?” She resorted to her usual name calling.
“It’s not one little thing, you’re asking me to assault your ex-boyfriend just to prove a point that I care about you, that’s fucked up Lindsey and I’m not playing your mind games anymore.” I stood my ground.
She gritted her teeth when I wouldn’t bend to her will. She pulled a knife out of her backpack and pressed it to her wrist. “Lindsey STOP!” I screamed to her. “I’ll do it right here.” She threatened. “I’ll bleed myself dry if you don’t fuck him up when he comes up these stairs when the bell rings.”
I gulped. Terrified on multiple levels. We sat there for moments, discussing why she was doing this. I tried to explain to her how irrational she was being, but she only threatened more and pressed the blade harder against her skin. I realized I had no other choice, she was really going to do it. I thought about leaving to tell someone but I was sure she would do something stupid if I tried.
Finally the bell rang. I looked to her once more and tried to plead my case of why this is pointless and fucked up for her to be doing. I was so scared of what I might see if I didn’t follow her directions. I didn’t know if I could handle seeing her slit her wrist in front of me. In a brief moment of time Marcus came slowly up the steps and gave me a strange look. “Hey Marc.” I said timidly. I couldn’t do it, he started to walk past me when I heard Lindsey scream. “DO IT!” I saw a drop of red blood drip from her arm as the blade hardly broke her skin. I snapped. I slammed Marcus by his neck to the ground, his head thumping a stair. He groaned in pain from the harsh impact and I began fiercely pummeling him. His head bouncing off the ground as my fist bloodied his face. “Is this what you fucking want?” I screamed to Lindsey. My fists cracking Marc’s nose and eye socket. I continued until he was hardly breathing, his face drenched in blood and his throat gurgling. Moments later there were numerous people surrounding us, including teachers ripping me to my feet and dragging me down the hall. Lindsey fled when the crowd came fearing she will get in trouble as well (as she should).
I sat in the office for hours being scolded by the principle telling me he’s given me enough slack and that I’ve gone way to far this time. I tried explaining to him what Lindsey was doing to me and how she was going to kill herself. Finally my parents showed up along with the councilor, they explained to my parents what had happened and showed them my bloodied hands. I desperately told them about Lindsey, about the knife, about the last few months and how she had been acting. The councilor had a small laptop with a flash drive plugged in the side, she clicked play on the video and we watched silently. My blood was cold as I watched to security footage of the corner staircase. I stood alone in the stairwell, bantering to the tiled wall and screaming at nothing, my parents cringed as they watched me mercilessly assaulted Marc. Only the two of us in the stairwell before the crowd came.