Pinky's Book Link

Friday, September 13, 2013

Eight in a Mini Minor

“Here Mrs. P... this is for your birthday,” smiled one of my favourite students ‘Care Bear’ this morning, as she handed me a handmade card and the (badly photographed) elephant in the picture above.

“Thank you so much, Care Bear! It’s beautiful! And look, its trunk is in the upwards position which means good luck!” I gushed. 

Unwrapped, and just a little bit worn, the tiny statue was clearly a treasured belonging of hers which she’d sacrificed from her dressing table. (At least I hope it was from hers and not her mother’s.)

I really was touched. A very timely gift on such a day, I mused.

Many years ago when I was seventeen, soon after completing grade twelve, I was jolted awake at two in the morning, overcome by a horrible sensation of crushing nausea. As my bleary eyes opened into dazzling light I felt my head being forced down towards a kidney dish into which I painfully heaved a river of blood; more than the insufficient kidney dish was able to contain anyway.

Bewildered, frightened and with a head that felt it had been wasted by a wrecking ball, I looked around to see my friend Pip and her father standing beside me. Pip’s dad began to yell at someone in a panicked voice, “Quick, you need to come over here! She’s vomiting blood!”

A white clad nurse bustled over, “She’s okay,” she tittered, “It’s probably just the blood she swallowed from her broken nose.”

“You’ve been in a car accident but you’re okay,” comforted Pip’s father. “We’ve rung your Mum and Dad and let them know.”

I was in Brisbane on a holiday staying at Pip's with a group of girlfriends. We’d gone to visit some boys at their house for a small, innocent gathering. No alcohol was consumed but when the evening drew to a close one of the lads offered us a lift home and we made the stupid decision to pile into a Mini Minor. 

Three in the front and five in the back, no seat belts and with Pinky fortuitously hemmed in the middle of the back seat.

The driver of the Mini failed to notice a red arrow at the traffic lights and the mobile can of sardined teenagers was rudely collected by an oncoming vehicle, forcing the Mini Minor to roll three times before finally coming to rest upside down on the side of the road. 

One of my friends had been flung through the windscreen, face first into a light pole. She managed to break every bone in her face, knock out all her teeth and required a complete facial reconstruction. 

Another of my girlfriends broke her neck and spent the next nine months locked into a rotating bed in intensive care.

Thankfully, no one died.

I had no recollection of the accident as I'd been unconscious for about three hours during and after the crash, but in the days afterwards I experienced eerie flashbacks. I’d hear sirens in the distance and suddenly recall terrified screaming and the memory of my head thudding over and over inside the roof of the Mini.

The collision occurred on Friday 13th and I guess you can view it from two perspectives. Either we were in the wrong place at the wrong time and very unlucky, or we were all miraculously fortunate no one was killed.

Either way… I’m always nervous on Friday 13th.