I Should Have Bought the Radio
I woke up in the hospital, which is never a great day to start your day, or evening for me since it turned out to be 8pm. I was just wondering how I got there when my sister leaned into my sightline.
“Hey, you’re awake,” she said. “Mom and Dad went out to bring back some food for us.”
“What happened?” I asked. I felt half in pain and half numb.
“You got hit by a car,” she said. She took a picture of me with her phone. “In case you want to remember this occasion.” She showed me. I looked terrible with my leg in a cast and cuts and bruises all over my face.
“Apparently you were waiting to cross 26th Street when a driver got distracted and veered over and hit you. You broke your leg, bruised some ribs, sprained your wrist, got a concussion, plus all the cuts and stuff.” Either my sister held up wonderfully in a crisis or she had never really liked me that much. She would make a great trauma nurse, I thought. At least if I was the only patient.
I suddenly remembered the walk, right up to 26th Street. “I should have bought the radio,” I said.
That seemed to disturb my sister more than my battered figure in a hospital bed. “Is that a euphemism? You almost bought the farm, if you want to go there.”
“No, that’s not what I mean,” I said. “I was walking up Peach Street and I saw a woman on a porch. She asked if I wanted to buy a radio. It was an old one with a wooden case and looked homemade. I said no since I never even watch TV much and I don’t need more stuff. Still, if I had bought it, I would have gotten to 26th Street a few minutes later and would never have gotten hit.”
My sister looked unimpressed. “And . . . you never would have known about it since it wouldn’t have happened. You might as well say it was good you didn’t buy the radio since if you hadn’t gotten hit by this car, you would have gotten run over by a cement mixer on 29th Street.”
She was right, of course, stupid logical, unflappable future-trauma-nurse sister. It kind of sucked that you only knew what happened to you, not any of the stuff that didn’t happen to you. Talk about a skewed perspective.
My parents came in with food and after fussing over me a bit, they started eating, which was very unfair since I was starving and couldn’t move. Occasionally they pushed french fries into my mouth. Then my dad took my sister home and my mother went out to take care of some things.
I thought of what I would be doing if I had at least stopped to look at the radio and talk to the woman. I’d just be at home on a normal evening. But here I am, lying alone in this hospital bed.
The TV was off and I didn’t have the remote. The room was eerily quiet with only the beep of monitors to break the silence.
I kind of wish I had a radio, I thought.