The next day soon arrived but it did nothing for my mood. I laid in bed feeling sorry for myself. This would be as good as it got, half a man with no prospect of ever been in a relationship again. No one would ever find me attractive again. It’s days like this that I wished I never survived the crash. “You up yet?” I heard John call from down the corridor. I ignored him, He’d have to venture to work soon and I’d then be left to wallow in self pity.
“Ben this isn’t happening again. I thought we were passed this. You’ve got plenty to live for, friends, a good job and soon when you let it beautiful women. Now get your Sorry arse out of bed and have a bloody wash. I’m off to Clare’s to explain this situation and then I’ll be back,” declared John.
“Please don’t tell her all my personal details. I can’t stand the thought of more pity,” I pleaded. John looked at me confused. “I don’t want her knowing I have a bag of piss strapped to my leg because I don’t know when I need to pee or how I’ve to use viagra for any chance of getting it up. And then that’s only a small possibility it will work.”
“Don’t be stupid man I wouldn’t tell her anything like that but she deserves to know some details and you sure aren’t going to give her anything. I’ll fill her in about the accident and your injury and try to explain why you hid it,” John explained. I nodded as John left my room because I didn’t trust myself to speak.
There was a knock on the door and Clare called, “he’s here Sophie. You coming down?” I quickly ran down the stairs and sat on the sofa opposite John. “So what do you exactly want to know?” He asked.
“How about you start from the beginning and we’ll go from there,” I replied.
“Ok so on December 26th last year me and Ben were on our way back from visiting friends in Warrington when a car lost control in the lane next to us and hit us. Our car did a 360 degree turn, hit the side railing and then we spun down the banking. I thought we were both going to die. My life flashed before me. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. When they car stopped I couldn’t believe it. I was still alive! I quickly gave myself a check to make sure I was still in one piece. I was sore in a few places but I thought It wouldn’t be anything that couldn’t be easily sorted. I was right, a broken arm and a few cuts and bruises. After about 30 seconds of relief I then started to panic. Ben hasn’t made a single sound since the accident and I was worried he was dead. I lend over and checked for a pulse. I started to cry when I found one because I knew he was alive. Everything seemed to happen all of a sudden. Someone arrived at my window and said help would be here in a minute and then Ben came around. He was really groggy and not very coherent. He suddenly started screaming about his legs and how they were gone. I tried to comfort him and explain they were still there and how everything was going to be ok. He was in and out of consciousness. Every time he came around he’d mention his legs about how they weren’t there or how he couldn’t feel them. That’s when I began to worry he might be paralysed, “explained John.
John looked at me for reassurance. I nodded and told him to continue. “Ben was airlifted to hospital. They wouldn’t let me go because they wanted to get me checked out. Once I was X-rayed and potted they let me go up to ICU where he was. Mr and Mrs Johnson were both there and I knew from Mrs Johnson’s sobs that it wasn’t good news. He was paralysed from mid chest down, T2 complete. He’d have no function or feeling from his point of injury and he’d need to rely on a wheelchair for getting around for the rest of his life.”
I saw a single tear slide along John’s check and passed him the tissues. “You know what was the hardest part for me,” John asked. “Well 2 things really. One was why was I the lucky one and secondly was when Mr and Mrs Johnson asked me to break the news because they thought I’d be able to stronger than they would. How wrong were they? I explained the prognosis and I cried buckets alongside Ben. I promised I’d be by his side every step of the way and I still aim to keep that promise. That’s why I’m back home now. Ben decided he needed to be closer to home so I up-sticks and returned with him.”
“Wow that’s one hell of a story,” gasped Clare.
“I know try living through it,” sighed John. “Everything about Ben’s life changed. He had to relearn the basics again like sitting up on his and learning how to do everything from a seated position. He was in hospital 6 months. Really It should have been four months but his confidence took a further blow when his then girlfriend left him because it was all too much for her. He really hit a dark patch where he wouldn’t do anything and I was worried he’d harm himself. It took some tough loving but we eventually got him out of the pit. That’s where the hiding comes from. He hates the thought of anyone thinking about him like Jenny ended up doing. It’s stupid but in his head if you didn’t know he was disabled then you’d think more highly of him. I tried to explain that he couldn’t continue hiding it but he was too worried he’d see pity if you knew. He took your reaction worse than I expected. He’s got it into his head that he saw disgust in what you saw. That’s not the case is it?”
“God no! The chair wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to me. I’m not going to lie and say I’m glad it’s there because I don’t. I wish he didn’t have to use one but it is what it is,” I stated.
“I can’t force you to do this but he really isn’t in a good place and I can’t sit by and watch him go back into the pit of self destruction. If you can bring yourself to, would you send him a message. As friends of course, if that’s what you want?, pleaded John.
I forced myself out of bed. I didn’t want to but I needed to empty my bag otherwise I was going to make myself ill. As I entered back into my room I heard my phone beep. I rolled over to where it was sitting and picked it up. To my surprise it said I had 1 notification from Sophie. I debated deleting it without reading it. What if she messaged me to tell me what a pathetic excuse of a man I am. I couldn’t cope with that right now but did Sophie seem the type to do that? No I didn’t think so. As quick as a flash, before I could have second thoughts I opened the message. Inside it read: Sorry if you got the wrong impression of how I felt about your chair last night. A chair’s a chair and It wouldn’t / doesn’t make a difference about how I feel about you.
I quickly replied:No worries let’s just Forget we ever met. It’s easier that way.
Sophie: Don’t be stupid Ben if we can’t be together fair enough but let’s at least me friends. Our connection is too strong.
Ben: No believe me it’s better this way
Sophie: I’m never going to win so I give up.