About Last Night
In that quick instant when my eyes shut so fast and I saw every color as a burst of light, I truly believed my life had come to an end. I had fallen to the ground before I knew exactly what happened. I didn’t even have time to think about bracing my fall or bending my knees so that the impact wouldn’t be as strong. I lay there, dizzy, nauseated and thinking to myself, “just a few more moments of agony, and it will all be over.” I could hear the yelling continue, the feel of the cold, hard pavement and rocks that tumbled in the autumn night’s breeze into my flesh. I looked at my light-colored sweatshirt, soaked in copious amounts of blood and realized “this is it.”
I was shot last night. I have been shot once before, actually. My friend thought it would be a cute or fun or manly thing to aim a BB gun near the vicinity of my face and pull the trigger. He states he aimed the gun at the floor and it ricocheted off and into my eye. I maintain that the gun was aimed at my head, and when he pulled the trigger, there went my eye. Well, not completely. See, I regained vision over a few months as the BB hit just a millimeter below my actual iris. As a result, that one eye is significantly lighter than the other and the vision is questionable, but I’ve never once needed glasses or contacts since. Truthfully, the last time I saw an eye doctor was when that event occurred, so it may be time for an update.
I haven’t been feeling good this past week. I’ve had a minor cold which has kept me homebound for the past three days. I would spend my entire weekend in bed all day, listening to music or watching videos on YouTube. Yesterday, I decided I needed to be productive. There was cleaning to do, chicken and dumplings to make and fresh air to take in, but all the while, I remained indoors. After the other night’s flash flooding (or as I like to call it, Monsoon Mayhem), I figured it would be best to stay indoors.
That is until I received a missed text from a friend of mine at about 1:03 in the morning. After spending my entire evening SnapChatting like crazy, I figured it was a good time to get ready for bed. I hopped out of the shower and was turning the speaker I keep in the bathroom off when I saw my phone lit up. “Can you please call me? I know it’s late,” the text read. Of course, who wouldn’t respond to that kind of message when viewed? So I called her back. She had had a huge disagreement with her significant other, and because the two share(d) a car, my friend was left alone in their apartment a few cities over. She had asked me to come and pick her up just to talk until her mind cleared. Knowing good and well we all need those moments in our lives, I assured her I would be right over.
I put on my Northface, some pants, socks, my tennis shoes (or as the cool kids call them today, “tennies”), and out the door I went. Two Steps from Hell was last on my playlist, so I continued to listen. I have always loved listening to movie soundtrack music. As someone who loves acting and films, my imagination grows wild when I listen to trailer music. (By the way, Epic Score is another oft-listened to band I enjoy.) This one particular song called “Freedom Fighters” makes me envision my funeral (morbid, I know), but only in a movie sense. I think of a character who fought a long, hard battle and ended up losing his life in the end. Hundreds of people pour into the gothic cathedral and mourn the loss of their fallen hero. He is enclosed in a glass casket where every part of him is seen. I won’t spoil the rest of that scene for you, but let’s just say if it ever turned into a movie, that song would be playing. That song would have almost been foreboding if I hadn’t survived that shot.
Pulling up to my girlfriend’s neighborhood, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I told her I would be there by 2:15 and ended up getting there around two o’clock. She texted me on the way over that she was showering, and that I should message her when I arrived. I sat in my car and waited until I heard an unusual noise. I turned down the music, and the noise went away. I decided I was just hearing things, played the music a little louder, but once again, I heard the unfamiliar noise. You know how sometimes you’re listening to a song you’ve heard for years, but all of a sudden, you notice something different musically in the song? Maybe it’s an instrument or a different beat that you’re picking up now that you didn’t before? That’s what I thought was happening.
I continued listening until I heard someone shouting, and that’s when I knew something was up. I turned the music down and the lights off. I peered around my car to see where exactly this noise was coming from. I notice a short woman with long, black hair and a taller man, with short, brown hair, probably in their mid-twenties, arguing a few apartments down from where I was. I have always wondered what I would do in a situation where you’re in public, see two or more people fighting, and have to either do or say something or choose to do and say nothing at all. Don’t ask me why, but I got out of my car to see what was going on. Somehow, I thought maybe I could diffuse the situation.
The woman was doing most of the screaming. I’m surprised more neighbors didn’t come to inspect what was going on, but maybe this isn’t out of the norm for this couple. The man stood in the doorway, while the woman who had on a loose, oversized button down and Uggs wandered around in the street periodically turning around to yell some more. I don’t remember a single word they said except for when she screamed, “And another thing, he’s…” and that’s all it took. I pieced together that she was cheating on her current boyfriend, the dude in the doorway, with another man when the other man stepped out of his vehicle which was parked just three cars down from mine. I knew this wasn’t something I needed to be a part of, so I quickly and quietly turned around.
It would only be a few minutes before my friend came down and we were off to ride around for a while when something sharp clipped my left arm. At first, I felt it from behind, but when I looked down, all I could see was how close my face was to the concrete. Then I was just lying there, peering at my once beige sweater now soaked in my own blood. All I could hear at that point was the sound of my own heart, trembling and beating increasingly fast. I tried to tell myself that this wasn’t happening, that surely, I just collapsed, but my arm could barely move. My chest was just pouring liquid pain. I turned my head to look back to make sure I couldn’t see any of those three, and when I was sure I wouldn’t be seen, I reached for my phone in my back pocket. Problem was, like an idiot, I left it in my car hooked up to the auxiliary cord. I couldn’t really think at that point, much less stand up to open my car door, and even then, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to. I was afraid to do anything but lay there and try to calm myself down.
I can’t explain how visually dibilitating it is looking at the ground you’re on seeing a massive amount of your own blood forming a puddle. I love horror movies, but I am a bit squeamish when it comes to blood and guts in real life. I felt like Casey Becker in the opening of Scream, one of my all-time favorite scary movies. Difference was, my parents weren’t a phone’s throw (see what I did there?) away from me to provide help. I prayed that my friend would have heard the noise, called the police and somehow, made it outside safely to see me and help.
It felt like an eternity went by. I couldn’t hear my heart racing anymore. Everything around me grew blurry. I had accepted the fact that this was it. I saw the many faces of people I wanted to say goodbye to. Shot and killed at 29. Who would take care of the cats? Where would all of my belongings go to? Who would be there for my friends when they heard the news? How would they hear the news? All of these questions flooded my mind. Eventually, I made peace in knowing I was here, doing a favor for my friend, and if it weren’t me who got shot, maybe it would have been someone else. I was meant to be here, I told myself. That bullet was meant for my arm, my chest, my body. All I could do is pray that it wouldn’t be long before I passed.
And then I woke up. I still feel dizzy, but that’s probably from the medication running in my system. I’m in a hospital room. I’m wearing a hospital gown. There isn’t anyone in the room with me for a good while, until a nurse comes in to check on me. I can barely remember what happened that night to lead me into that room. The nurse asks me if I know where I am, how I got there and who I am. The only one I feel I can answer with some certainty is about myself. “My name is… Oh, my God. Why am I blanking on my name?” I guess I was wrong. I look down at my wrist and see a bracelet the hospital gave me with my name and birthday.
I tell her my name and ask her why I’m so nauseated. She excuses herself to get some food for me now that I’m awake. She brings back applesauce, just plain applesauce and some other garbage I won’t put anywhere near my mouth. It doesn’t dawn on me until I’m reaching out to bring the tray in closer that my left side is heavily bandaged. And I’ll be damned, they stuck that frickin’ IV needle right where my arms bend. I’ll never understand why they do that. It is so painful to move when you’re in a hospital anyway, must they make it that much more painful?
I ask her to put the IV needle in my hand instead as I have had that happen in the past. She tells me she will once the doctor comes in to see me. I ask when that will be, and she says, “it shouldn’t be long now.” Yeah, right. I know how this works. His shift probably starts at 7:30 AM, and it’s, what, four-something now? In the meantime, all I can think about is what the hell happened the night before. She encourages me to rest while I’m trying to put the puzzle back together. It isn’t until my friend comes in to check on me that I learn of what has happened. She says she found me next to my car with my eyes heavily glazed over surrounded in my own blood and vomit. Gross. I threw up, too? That’s certainly not how I want to be remembered.
She tells me that I couldn’t seem to form a sentence, she calls for help out into the street, she and some guy put me in the back seat of my car and she drives me to the hospital. As I’m hearing all this, now I’m thinking, “Of, fuck. Now my car is going to be stained, too.” A sweater, I can handle, but not the inside of my car. You can’t just throw away the backseats of your car like you can a sweater.
I slowly start remembering everything from the argument those people were having. I realize that the dude in the doorway must have gotten really pissed at either his girl or her new man… or both, and decided to take matters into his own hands. Why none of them came to my aid, I’ll never know, but I am actually glad they didn’t. If they’re sketchy enough to cheat and shoot out in the open, I can only imagine what they would have done if they found me. Just hope somebody finds them and brings them to justice, but I am not concerned about that right now. I’m just amazed that I’m still alive!
So here I am, hours later, in a hospital room typing with one hand which takes me three times as much time to do so about my experience last night. Luckily, my friend and I have a wicked sense of humor, and when I told her I had to write about it, she went to her home and got her laptop for me. (By the way, do you realize how hard it is to type an exclamation point with only one hand?) The doctor still hasn’t been by to see me (what a surprise), but from the nurse has told me, even though I lost a lot of blood, I didn’t lose as much as I would have if I were hit on the left side of my heart. The right side has lower blood pressure. Go figure.
My phone is dead, and noone seems to have the adapter for my charger, so I am without my phone for a little while. But don’t you worry. I’m going to make it out just fine.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to craft more short stories like this one and see how convincing I can be. 😉