There are songs and tunes that take us back in time and mark our lives. That was the case this morning when a friend shared a song, a beautiful song, which I will forever link to a tragic story; my boyfriend’s and my own close call with death, and the real death that took place that night.
I will never know why I was spared. Luck? Chance? Of the three in that car, I was the one who was always toying with danger, and I was the one pardoned.
I was 22 and partied hard. Never missed a chance to go out, stay late and drink myself silly. My boyfriend and I had great times and not so great times. We were young and careless. That time in life when we think nothing bad can ever happen to us because we are immune to tragedy. Yet tragedy did strike.
We used to spend weekends in a town away from the city. Everything was close by, so doing the bar rounds was easy on foot. Yet, we chose to drive around. That night my boyfriend’s best buddy came to visit from the city. An amazing, fun guy. We showed him around and did our usual rounds. At one point, I decided, for some strange reason, to go back home early. (Early as in 2 AM. when 6 AM would have been normal.) I still don’t understand why I decided to call it a night so “early,” when being too drunk was not a “good reason” then. As they dropped me off at my parent’s, I said something unusual. Something only parents say: “Please be careful and drive safe.”
The next morning my boyfriend called; ‘Laura, terrible has happened. Last night we had an accident, 5 minutes after letting you off. My friend was killed. I’m fine.” Words spoken in short broken breaths and tears. Shock, pain, utter disbelief hit me.
I was spared, my boyfriend wasn’t. He was broken and so was our young friend’s young beautiful life.
We all lost that night. My boyfriend and I woke to the reality that bad things did and could happen to us. This was a harsh awakening to the frailty of life.
“Mystify” by INKS was the last song I heard that night at our last bar… A song tainted by tragedy. Hutchence, one of the members committed suicide on the morning of 22 November 1997, in his hotel room in Sydney.
As I listen to this song today, I greet it with unsurmountable sadness, yet, at the same time with gratitude for the second chance my boyfriend and I were given. RIP “J”