It started out as an ordinary day. But I suppose that all days with unpleasant surprises start out ordinary. That's why they have surprises in them; you never see them coming.
Hence, when I woke up in the morning, I had no clue that today was to be the day that would affect my whole life the most. It would stop me from being what I most wanted to be when I grew up then. It would stop me from ever being able to get a girl's attentions, it would stop me from ever being a father. This day would end my life as an ordinary person; now the only glances I'd ever get anymore would be of sympathy.
Of course, I didn't know that that morning. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone to Joe's house.
Joe was my best friend. We'd been together since preschool, when we used to build houses out of Legos together, and compete to finish our juice boxes first. As we grew in body and mind, we also grew in our friendship. Joe wasn't just part of my social circle, but a part of my soul. It was a ritual with us to go to each other's houses every Sunday: the morning would be spent at his, and after lunch we would come to mine, where from he would leave only after he had dined with us.
So, as the day had been a Sunday, I set off for the 4 minute walk to Joe's house.
* * *
Spencer's car had been acting up again. His vintage 1960's Austin Martin had seen way too much, and had served him faithfully for over twenty years, but Spencer still wouldn't admit that maybe it was time to let her go. He had a deep emotional attachment with this baby, and he still insisted on taking her out on a spin every Sunday. On one of these rides, she had suddenly broken down, and now his precious Austin was sitting in his garage, under his mechanic's eye. Spencer had let no one touch her, ever, other than himself.
He took a peep around under the hood, and after replacing a rusted gear with a new, shiny one and changing the oil, he fancied her ready for another spin. He never even realized when the penny fell out from his pocket, right into the engine of his car with the hood up.
* * *
The flowers were blooming, and the grass was green. I inhaled the fresh, alive smell of the spring air as I strolled along to Joe's house, my mind and body at peace as I was heading towards my second home. I was currently half way to my destination, and only a bend in the road, a cross of an intersection, and then a 50 meter walk separating me from my intended journey's end.
I rounded the bend, and like a good little mamma's boy, looked both ways before crossing the street. I put my foot out onto the asphalt of the road, and before I had even walked ten steps, was under a car, unconscious, with my whole body busted.
And I hadn't even seen it coming.
* * *
Spencer's car was careening out of control. It had been acting smooth until he'd exited his street, and, as if his baby had gone paranoid leaving home, she went out of control. Spencer's hands had flown of the steering wheel, and now that he had them back on, he was panicking, spinning it round and round, attempting to get the car back to its senses. It zoomed across the street, spinning, skidding, and Spencer caught the acrid smell of burning rubber.
There's only one thing that can cause something like this, Spencer thought. Something in the engine is being blocked by a small object.
Suddenly, his car jerked to a halt. Spencer sighed in relief, as he got out of his car, and then immediately gasped as he realized why it had stopped.
His Austin Martin had hit something. A young boy.
* * *
Twenty years later
I still think about it sometimes. I wonder, how would my life have been different, if I had just been a little careful? If I'd not set out for Joe's house? If the car had missed me by a meter? If I had left a few minutes late? If the car had not even hit me at all?
For one, I wouldn't be stuck in a wheel chair. I might have become a basketball player, my childhood dream. I might have found a girlfriend, married her, become a father. I would be able to go out on the street without the sympathetic stairs of a whole city's population.
All because of that one day, which had started out so ordinarily.
And another day, which also started out ordinary, would change it all.