Updated: Oct 7, 2020
In my twenties I felt I was extremely world wise, in hindsight perhaps every decade we feel this way, guess it is relevant to that moment in time. For the first time in my life I was living away from home and also for the first time in my life, I was in love. The guy in question was possibly just the most attractive human being I had ever encountered. The fact that he had been expelled from school made him that much more so. Me and my issues with bad guys and thinking or perhaps believing I could "fix" them.
I was so blinded by this boy, and yes at the time he was just a boy, that I would have done anything for him. I loved spending time in his company. I loved his jokes. I loved how popular he was. He was uber cool smoking like Clark Gable and when alcohol was involved, I just lost all sense of which way was up. What made him even cooler was he drove a beach buggy and I got to sit in the front seat, wind whipping my hair about as we drove back from the beach. Stopping to put in fuel friends hanging around smoking, drinking beer and laughing in that carefree way one does at that age, when suddenly the attendant starts screaming that the buggy's engine is on fire. I burst into immediate panic, we are going to blow up the entire fuel station and all of us with it! Not him, he nonchalantly walks over, takes his beer and pours out the fire, gets in the buggy and starts it up. I was hooked!
As part of his punishment for crimes he committed and the reason for his expulsion, he was required to do volunteer work. Saturday morning rolls around and I jump out of bed when I see the time. We had all been to a club the night before drinking and dancing until the wee hours of the morning; if I have overslept that means so did he. I have to wake him up and see that he gets to his volunteer work otherwise he will be in even more trouble. Hurriedly I dress and run down the steps to the boy's hostel next door, but the front door is still locked from curfew the night before.
What followed and the actions I took make no logical sense to my brain. I still shudder with absolute horror and squirm in my seat as I recall the events of that morning. For some reason way beyond my comprehension at the time I decided that ringing the front doorbell was not an option but climbing onto the roof of the three storey building and getting into the boys hostel through a window was. So I climbed, leaned over and saw an open window. This is literally how it unfolded in my brain - lean forward, use that part of the guttering to hang from and then swing into the open window. Wake him and make sure he gets to his volunteer work. Easy, right?
No, how I pictured it unfolding is not how it happened, go figure. Instead of being able to swing on the gutter into the open window; the gutter broke under my weight and I fell the three storeys to the courtyard concreted surface below. I was convinced that time slowed down, because in my head I remembered every brick, windowpane and window sill as I fell and it took forever until I hit the bottom. Again, no. The whole event happened in under three minutes and when I "came to" I looked up and there he was staring down at me, a look of utter distaste on his face. Apparently, everyone knew how I felt about him, including the entire boys hostel. The guys had woken him and told him what had happened.
I was rushed to hospital and my mother phoned to come immediately. I remember being very rude to the nursing staff on duty telling them that if they did not immediately give me something for the pain, I would vomit all over their desk. I don't remember much of what happened the days following "the accident", but I do remember everyone telling me how lucky I was. I had fallen three storeys and walked away with only torn ligaments and tendons. I would battle with my knees later in life, I was warned.
How did I survive that fall and what is the meaning or perhaps the reason why? I never questioned it at the time, just loved all the attention it got me. I did eventually go back to hostel and my studies; facing my punishment even though the matron had assured me the fall and plaster of paris was punishment enough. I also had to face the humiliation and embarrassment when teased about what I did.
Still today when I am reminded by my very kind friends with long memories of that day. I make jokes to cover my humiliation and embarrassment at my actions, claiming temporary insanity.