In the spring of my 27th year, just after I married my husband, I grew magnetically attracted to accidents. It only persisted a few months.
I started as a watcher. Exactly one week after my wedding, I was shopping at the local Goodwill. As I stood at the register, watching the woman scanning my items, ambulance horns ripped through the store. One store employee ran outside, then back in. He spoke in whispers with the woman helping me.
“My God,” she said to me, as she scanned my 5th item, a polka-dot skirt.
She scanned my last item, a striped button down. “A car ran off the road into the coffee shop just 20 feet across the street,” she pointed, “and a woman is stuck under it.”
“Oh my god. That’s so awful. Oh my god how horrible.”
“People are crazy…People need to be more careful. That will be $42.50.”
“Sure.” I slid my card through the slip, though a part of me wanted to push the items back across the counter.
I walked out of the store and saw the SUV smashed into the corner of the coffee shop. Maybe a hundred people stood around staring at it. I knew that between the coffee shop and the SUV was a woman, but all you could see were her feet sticking out underneath.
In the next two weeks it really picked up. I witnessed accident after accident. A man slipped on a cheese and cracker sample at the supermarket. A little girl fell off her bike and landed on a neighbor’s dog. It all became too horrifying and I decided to stop leaving my house.
For a few days it was quiet. Then the accidents started happening in my home. They started small. I put cumin into cake mix thinking it was cardamom. My hair got caught around a button on my sweater and I had to cut it free. My left thumbnail bent back and broke when I tried to press my allergy pill through the foil packaging.
I stopped using sharp knives, the stove and the oven, I walked slowly around corners, I only drank water, I kept my hair tied back at all times. Accidents still found me but less and less. I felt safe and often forgot about my magnetic problems.
On the 12th of April, there were no cakes left in the house so I decided to have two mandarins for dessert.
My husband was doing some work on his computer in the other room and, waiting for him before getting into bed, I took out some embroidery work. Sitting cross-legged on the couch I sewed through tough fabric with my fat embroidery needle, stitching x’s in and out. When the fabric was too stubborn I used the thick inner seam of my jeans as a sort of thimble to help push the needle.
I stitched the x’s in and out. I used the inseam for leverage. X in. X out. Inseam to lift. I was going through a particularly rough spot and so, balancing my fat needle on my inseam, I pushed with all my might. To my surprise, and horror, the dull end of the needle tore straight through the inseam and lodged into my thigh.
Thinking this would be the extent of the accident and the agony I pulled as hard as I could but the needle wouldn’t come out. I tried again. Then again, then again, but the only thing pulling was my skin. Envisioning all the skin around my needle splitting and growing dizzy I yelled for assistance.
“IT’S IN MY LEG! IT’S IN MY LEG!”
A few seconds later my husband rushed into the room.
“Are you ok? Did the cat get you? Is it a charley horse?”
“THE NEEDLE! IT’S IN MY LEG!”
My husband kneeled down and tried hard to pull it out, but once again it wouldn’t budge. He tried for about thirty minutes and when that didn’t work he called an ambulance.
The doctors performed an emergency surgery. When I awoke and looked down at my leg, the needle was still in there. Now with some creative x’s stitched around it.
“I am so unbelievably sorry but we could not remove the needle from your leg. You see, it fused straight to the bone.” Bandaged up they sent me home.
It took me months to get used to my leg. Eventually my skin grew over it and it stopped causing me any discomfort. I needed to have special pants made, but I really don’t mind the look. I even think it’s kind of cute and when I wear short skirts and things I tie bows around it. My husband says he likes it, too.