“When smothering darkness surrounds you, find a glimmer of light and never let it dwindle. The light will lead the way.” JSM
My eyes snapped open when I felt a tug around my ankle. My buddy managed to swim upstream, grab the rope, create just the right amount of slack to get my hand out and pull me free.
My limp body floated the remainder of the distance across the shallow area, with him riding the current close behind, and I crawled out of the water slumping out of breath onto solid ground.
After a while of sitting on the shore and discussing the event, and how insane we were for wanting to participate in something so absurd, we laughed like idiots, gathered our stuff and bolted onto the next adventure like it never happened.
The next “certain death” experience was a medical incident.
Out of the blue and absolutely terrifying.
At the age of eleven I was diagnosed with a rare blood condition with a lengthy name I could spell out for you, but for the moment we’ll just say it was platelet related. The diagnosis was determined through a blood test and a series of additional tests were issued not long after. If I remember correctly at times it was twice a week.
The condition was rare to the point where supposedly there wasn’t a name for it. Collaboration with varying specialists determined what the name of the “illness” should be.
But I speculate on that.
The slightest of impacts caused bruising that would grow in size over time, slowly diminish, and then vanish; only to be replaced with a fresh one later on. I was checked daily for anything larger than a fifty cent piece. I wasn’t allowed to play, roughhouse, or for that matter much else for physical activity. I had friends during that time who would just walk with me around the playground, or sit with me until the bell rang. The news spread quickly through the school and for the course of the “illness” I was looked at much differently than before.
Shortly after the blood work was completed, accompanied with a painful bone marrow test, a final evaluation was made.
Less than a year to live.
Six months later it all vanished. I know, a little anticlimactic to be sure, but yeah. Gone as quickly as it arrived. Take it as you will.
For each blood test after the death sentence was issued, the charts showed a gradual increase to the point of leveling out right back to where I was before. “It’s all gone, young man. You won’t have to come back again.”
Moving forward in life, I was only given two stipulations: No blood thinners and try not to donate blood; just to air on the side of caution.
“You got it.”
The third doom and gloom experience happened on the night of the Computer Seminar.
The timing was absolute garbage and when I placed the nose of the car into the high snowbank, I slid to a complete stop with my side flat against the pile beside me. No way to open my door or roll down a window. The truck approaching was angled perfectly to smash its salt dispenser into the passenger side window frame.
Before I go on, I have titles for people that I must get out of the way. Bear with me. It won’t take long.
In the here and now Nancy is my girlfriend, partner, companion, my better half, my stronger half, my teammate, and I swear we can read each other’s minds. Two people, who without a doubt, are made for one another. She picks me up when I fall, and I’d carry her through Hellfire. We’ve never had an argument, we have zero conflict and mutual goals, but if she’s mentioned throughout this tale, I will refer to her by name. She’s given me permission.
My best friends, childhood friends, people I trust, my confidants I refer to as Buddies. My buddy.
My family is my family.
People of my past that don’t fall under these titles, are fellow travelers. However, traveler will suffice for the tale’s purpose.
I believe that life is a journey that must be traveled, we are all connected, and our journey’s mingle together, intertwine and cross paths. Therefore whomever is journeying with me, they too are a traveler. I may have a traveler or two throughout the tale.
The impact was a slow squeeze and the traveler had enough time to climb into the driver’s seat. The windows broke, the frame collapsed, and I immediately felt as though I was in the trash compactor on the Death Star. Once the driver of the truck realized someone was behind him, it stopped crushing us like a soda can and gradually moved forward. The car lurched with it and was yanked back onto the snow covered street. The vehicle was mangled.
The traveler sustained a minor knee injury, multiple calls were issued and the driver of the truck was most certainly of a retirement age.
Within an hour, the street was transformed into a circus within a blizzard.
The caravan arrived forty five minutes later after a tow truck was called, I was accused of inebriation, the truck drivers supervisor was contacted, reports filled out and instead of being able to go back home and be done with the night, the luggage was distributed throughout the caravan and I was convinced by BizarroTech to go on and see it to completion.
“You got this far, Jeremy. Can’t stop now. We’re almost there. This story will be good for the seminar.” The Joker smile returned and he claps me on the shoulder.
“Easy for you to say.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look Bill.” I point to the fiasco behind us, “I don’t have a car anymore.”
“Don’t worry. It’ll all work out. Everything will be fine. You’ll see.”