For an explanation of my NaBloPoMo theme, click here.
I went to Boston University, which is known for having a very urban campus. Actually, it would be unfair to say that BU actually even HAS a campus, because there is no separation between the school and city – it’s just part of the city. The T (Boston’s subway/street car system) runs right down the middle of the mile and a half long campus, so many students hop on and off to get to class.
On day in college, I was rushing to get from work to class. (Actually, I should not say ‘one day’, because this happened every damn day, but this story is about one particular day. It also happened to be a day that I had a paper due, so it was especially important that I make it there on time.) I made the executive decision to hop on the T, hoping that it would be faster than just hauling ass down the street.
Now, the thing is, the T would only be faster if I was able to get on one right away. The trains, particularly in that area, are notorious for being unpredictable. You might get three in a row and then nothing for 20 minutes. So I crossed my fingers and headed into the station (Kenmore station, heading outbound on the B line, for any Bostonians out there.)
This station is underground, so you go down a few flights of stairs to get to the train platform. I rushed down one flight, went through the ticket thingie, and then headed for another flight. As soon as I reached the top of the stairs I could hear the train in the station, and as I stepped onto the top step I could see that the train was trying to close its doors. I say trying because, in typical T fashion, this train was full to bursting and literally could not close the doors because there were people still trying to cram themselves in. I had a chance if I hurried!
But alas, it was not to be. Because as soon as I stepped onto the second step of this flight of stairs, something happened. I’m still not sure exactly what. Maybe my foot got caught in the hem of my pants, maybe my ankle gave out, maybe I am just a clumsy fool. I flew down those stairs. I rolled down those stairs. I bounced down those stairs. I sure as hell did not walk. There was no walking. Only falling – from the second step down to the bottom, where I lay in a heap in front of several hundred people in the busy station.
I can only imagine what those people thought, because I need to impress upon you the force with which I fell. This was not a stumble, grasp for the handrail kind of fall. This is the kind of fall that you see and then go home and tell your family about over dinner. “I was in the subway today, and there was this girl, and these stairs, and it was just incredible. How could someone DO that?”
People did offer to help me, but at that point I was so embarrassed and horrified that I kind of shrugged them off and limped my way over to the second train, the empty one that came approximately .2 seconds after the one that I had nearly died trying to get to.
As I sat on the train, I assessed the damage. It was not good. First of all, the paper that I had due? The one that I had been holding in my hand on my way to class? It looked like it had been through a war. It was crinkled, and dirty, and is that blood? Oh yes, it is, from where I lost the entirty of the skin that was on my palm.
I opened my backpack to scrounge for a band-aid (Even though really, a band-aid? I think a few feet of gauze would have been more appropriate) and heard an odd kind of crunching noise. That’s when I realized that my cell phone was broken into two halves and the screen was cracked. Because I landed on it. Also, the crackers that I had brought for a snack were reduced to crumbs, and my orange was now pulp. I mean, I made fresh-squeezed orange juice in my backpack. Without even trying. How many people can say that?
In the aftermath, I explained what had happened to my professor and received permission to e-mail the paper in when I got home. He also gave me more band-aids, which was embarrassing, and a little pathetic. But not as pathetic as when I had to explain to my cell phone provider what had happened so that they would give me a new phone under the warranty. I had to show the woman my bruises before she would believe me.
And, oh, the bruises. I was a walking canvas of black and blue for a solid month. During that time I refused to wear anything other than pants and long sleeves, because on the few occasions that I did wear short sleeves, I got about a million questions about what had happened to me. Let’s face it, there was no way I was telling the truth, and there just aren’t that many non-embarrassing ways to get bruises over your entire body.
In the end though, the bruises faded, I got a new phone, and the skin on my palms eventually grew back. All I am left with is the haunting – and embarrassing – memory of my journey down the T station stairs.