We Could Be Heroes

Chapter 20

By Bensiamin

I was about thirty feet ahead of David when I heard the tires screech on the pavement and looked back to see the sun reflect off the chrome bumper as the car hit David and threw him off his bicycle. It was like slow motion in my mind as I watched him go sideways over the curb and onto the sidewalk.

He was conscious, but not making sense when I got back to him and said all he saw was a flash of light off the chrome bumper. An old lady had stepped out of the car and was apologizing about not seeing the young man on the bicycle. Someone called 911 and an ambulance was there before long and he was on his way to the ER.

David’s been home from the hospital for a couple of days. He was only in for one night and doesn’t have any broken bones. He does have a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, a bunch of bruises and some serious road rash on his right thigh.

I knew he was writing a journal of his own, just like I was writing mine. That was cool. Of course, the difference was that I’ve been in school with classes and homework and he hasn’t, so he’s been able to not just keep his journal current but tell the whole story. My journal has been a joke. The entries are every once in a while, mainly tied to events or emotional highs, instead of being constant. And two volumes, for god’s sake. He’s been writing all of this down—our whole story. That’s what David is. Constant. I’m still kind of like a fart in a frying pan. Ha ha! I heard that from Will’s Dad once, but I’m just not as focused as he is. He’s the ground of this relationship because he is constant, and committed, and serious, and caring, and loving. Did I say loving? He’s the most loving person I’ve ever met. Why someone would fall for a dorky teenager like me is pretty much beyond belief. But, he did, and he’s never faltered, not even once.

Anyway, he’s home and laid up but almost over the mild concussion. The torn rotator cuff is mild and supposed to heal itself, and the bruises will heal. The road rash that I have to take care of each day is a mess, like a patch of hamburger on his thigh. It was gross in the ER, watching them take a scrub brush to it to get the dirt and grit out! Good thing they’d given him a pain shot. I almost threw up just watching, but those ER nurses are hard core. Ellen was there, so I knew we were Okay! She’s the best. She’s constant too. Constant and a pro!

So, anyway, they kept him overnight in the hospital because of the concussion. Good thing we were wearing helmets, that’s what Ellen said, or we’d be talking brain damage not just a concussion. She doesn’t pull any punches. But she told me that while she was holding me in a hug, and I was crying on her shoulder. I thought he was going to die, but that was just me freaking out and being immature. But I’ve been haunted by the lyrics of God Only Knows, and as soon as he got hit by the car that was all I could think of, like he’s dead or he’s going to die. Then what?

It all started about me, which is pretty immature and self-centered, then after talking to Ellen at the hospital and thinking about it a lot, by the next day, I realized I had to let go, that it wasn’t about me. It was about us. That’s what David Bowie was singing about in Heroes. That “we could be us.” I know it sounds pretty pathetic, but I guess it was the fear that made me think just about me, and that after nine months of it being us. But, I’m just a kid, and human. But I finally figured out that it was about us, and not the possibility of me losing David, but the consequences of what would happen if “us” was suddenly terminated. That made me grow up fast, in a big way.

Anyway, in the end it didn’t matter because he’s going to be fine. But I learned my lesson. So much for being the wise ass singer with all the answers! When you suddenly realize that the most important thing in your life can go away, it changes everything.

There was one funny part to it. Someone asked him in the hospital if he saw his whole life go by in front of his eyes when the car hit him, like in the movies right before someone dies. He replied, “No. I said, ‘Oh fuck,’ and the only thing I thought about was that I won’t have a life to spend with the most important person I’ve ever known.” It was great he thought about me and our life together, but pretty hilarious that what the minster says when he gets hit by the car and could maybe die is ‘Oh fuck!’

We’re moving to Portland soon, and I guess that means I’ll be doing most of the work, which is cool. David needs to heal, and I’ll do what I have to do. Not that I know anything about remodeling or decorating or any of that stuff. Maybe I’ll ask Dad to come down from Seattle and help.

Either way, we’re moving to Sellwood, we’ll be close to the Willamette River, not far from campus, and by the time school starts David should be out of his shoulder sling and have full use of his arm back. That’ll be good for him starting his new job, and it’ll be good for us, too, because it turns out that it’s hard to make serious love when you can’t use one arm. Not to say we haven’t been exploring work arounds! But any way, he’s on the mend but probably won’t be adding much to his journal till he gets full use of his right arm back. By then, though, life will be back to normal, and we’ll be on to the next chapter in our life together.

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