The Life I Could Have Had

I just watched the Appalachian State football team beat Furman to move on to the Division 1 double-A national championship game against Northern Iowa.  Before this season Appalachian State had never won a postseason game.  I have been following the playoffs with great interest and was extremely excited to be able to watch the team on national television.  It was an extremely close game and my heart pounded during the final two minutes as the Furman offense drove down the field with no apparent sign of stopping.  As I yelled at the television screen my breath finally returned to normal when the Furman quarterback fumbled the ball, then was picked up by Appalachian State with 10 seconds to go.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the game but I couldn’t help but reminisce about the life I could have had if I never broke my neck.  I would be there in the stands, probably slightly buzzed from a couple of drink warmers, jumping up and down with my fellow students at each play of accomplishment.  Then recklessly charging out onto the field, once the win was at hand, to celebrate a possible national championship.  I can almost pick out my face on the crowded field of energized youth, smile beaming, caught up in a moment I would probably remember as one of the happiest times of my life.

So far this winter has brought many thoughts of what I would be doing in this life which does not exist.  I can sense how I would be feeling, the mood and atmosphere that would surround me on a day-to-day basis.  The cold winter winds would be harsh across my skin yet refreshing and energizing.  The smell of snow in the air would brighten my eyes at the thought of flying down the ski slopes on my snowboard, achieving first-time aerial maneuvers with the greatest of satisfaction.  Then the feeling of returning to the warmth of my home, stripping off the wet outer shell covering my body, and sinking into the couch as my muscles tingled from fatigue and the reintroduction to heat.  Winter in the mountains brings a feeling of isolation and detachment but also a cozy feeling of protection when indoors, listening to the winds howl through the valleys and whistling through the trees.

I am more accepting of my life and my present situation at the moment than I have been in a while.  Yet when I observe the senses of my body, and I feel the awareness I have of my legs, I can’t help but know the strong possibilities of normalcy in my life again.  The literal feeling I have in my bones and muscles tell me that there is no common sense when it comes to my current physical state.  Someone just tell me where to flip the switch and it will all be over.

In my eyes the life I imagine could have been does not exist, but I wonder if it does exist somewhere in some alternate reality.  Somewhere in some other dimension my same body is experiencing life without paralysis.  Weird, but I feel as if it may be true.

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2 Responses to The Life I Could Have Had

  1. Unknown says:

    Colin,I came across your page in the updated spaces area. As a former x-ray tech I can appreciate (to a certain degree) the enormity of your challenges.Reading about other peoples courage gives me courage.I will, sometime, read your web page. What strikes about your writing is how you are able to put the very small nuances of daily living into words that put me right there and experiencing something that otherwise I couldn\’t phathom. That is a talent.thanks for your blog.JLo

  2. Patricia says:

    ditto to what JLo wrote – you have the amazing capability to put one in the moment through your writing. I too have similar feelings about where my life would have headed if I didn\’t get injured. There seem to be an endless stream of possiblities that sometimes bring me tears. On the other hand I have found that I am capable to do some of the things I didn\’t think I could. Like for instance I can easily get ya to a football game and get ya drunk-I\’d even run you out into the field in the crowd!! You can scream as loud as you want and then afterwards warm up by the very same fire in your imagination and drink something warm or stay in a cozy cottage in winter and yes, even ski – I taught adapted skiing before my injury and lots of spinal cord injuries including quad are back there on the mountain. It is really cool and the smile is priceless. I know this isn\’t what you are referring to however on many levels. It is just that there is such a bright future ahead of you. I would of course never wish that my accident happened -I\’d love to have so many of my old capabilities back. But I have learned a lot of things that I never would have learned. You for instance have found Tolle, have shared Tolle. That is amazing. You are a talented writer and thinker and I think you have a million opportunities to chose from – for one I think you would make an amazing teacher – I aslo think that you have an ability to and interest in how things work – much like biology that you were studying. I would guess this major for you if you had not mentioned it. I can see you looking into that microscope and finding and developing things. I can see you thinking into the possibility of things and energy. You already do – I don\’t know what the other alternative dimension is doing but I sure am glad that I got to meet you just as you are – I wish that for your sake that you had all of your muscles working and maybe they will, but for now I want you to know how amazing I think you are right here, right now. I think that we all will always dream of the perfect ski jump, the perfect feeling of a body that is in shape and coordinated – man, I miss being coordinated! I wonder about people that have never had the chance to know the desire from having felt it once. It still does not comfort me though when I think of my gratitude. I guess though I have learned that on this path which I am on there are a million ski jumps – they just aren\’t the same kind – creating a schedule has been my recent gymnastic back flip – reading Tolle, my blast down the long run of the ski jump! Did you see that commercial yet where they drive a car up that thing? Smokes! Well, I hope that you had a good Sunday. I just now saw that you wrote this yesterday and somehow I missed it. Hope you are well. My best to you – patti

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