It was Friday. I had a day off from work. I had just gotten paid, and the money was burning a hole in my pocket. It was my birthday weekend, and the boys and I were going to be at two different drag shows to benefit Orlando.
To celebrate and look my best, I decided to get my hair cut for the first time since it had grown back from cancer treatment. The stylist was a super sweet women, around 26, who had a 5 month old baby at home. She told me about how she slept the last half of her senior year in high school in the back of her car because she didn’t want to move with her parents out of state. I told her about Alex and LyKra. We than swapped bar stories. Her husband works as a DJ at a strip club in town. It was unusual and comforting at the same time. She took special care to curl my hair and make it look extra pretty for the benefit I was going to that night.
Afterward, I was happy and wanted to look at some clothes and makeup at Walmart. I parked my car next to the cart corral and headed in. My mind was racing on what I needed to look at as I walked into the store. I made a right turn from the entrance and started to head to the women’s clothing section. About a yard away from it, I felt something wet under my feet.
Immediately, my left leg slide out to the side, yanking my knee. My other leg than slipped from underneath me and I landed on my ass and rolled to my right side. I screamed bloody murder because it felt like someone had just pulled my left leg in an unnatural way. I noticed that the entire floor was covered in water, including my fresh clean clothes. My head lay on the cold wet surface and I sobbed and screamed in pain.
It felt like minutes went by before anyone came to me. One woman said,” don’t move, honey.” Between my screams and sobs, I heard people over radios and on intercoms calling for managers and maintenance. Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by people. I could only make out shoes.
“Do you want us to call an ambulance?”
“No,” I screamed. I still have a $400 lab bill from pooping in a cup the last time I had a stomach virus. I couldn’t fathom an ambulance bill.
As I tried to get my sense about me, all I could do is feel this immense burning, soreness from my leg, and nothing but moisture all around me. No one wanted to touch me, so I had to try and bend out my bad leg myself. It hurt. It hurt bad, but I could do it.
I sit up, still crying, and see a little 8 year old boy look at me holding a bag of fish. “I am sorry,” he said. I realized that I was lying in the spilled contents of a fish bag. Who knows, maybe even on top of dead fish carcasses.
Immediately, a manager was trying to get my name and contact information down on an incident report. I tried to respond calmly while rubbing my knee. I have never had anything like this happen to me before. Why me? Why today? I put my hand to my head and felt the side of my hair soaked. The curl was already coming out. So much for getting my hair done.
They brought an Amigo to my side, still on top of a lake of water, and asked if I wanted help getting on it. I didn’t know how I should try to get up. I put my bare feet down in the water and tried to steady myself on a few guys. As they helped me up, I could tell that I could put weight on my leg. My bones were okay. I just sprained it.
I sat on the Amigo and they immediately wanted me to sign the paper. “This is just to verify that your contact information is right.” I had no glasses on; they had flown off, but I just wanted it to be done. Someone grabbed my purse and threw it in the cart with my glasses. I was still crying. I was upset, embarrassed, grossed out that I was in fish juice on a dirty Walmart floor. I refused to miss LyKra performing in her first real show that night. Happy Birthday to me!
A posse of managers walked me out to my car, following the Amigo. I pulled up to my car, and they helped me get out of the scooter, walked me to my car, watched me try and get in, than closed my door and took off. I was still crying. My knee hurt. My pride hurt. I couldn’t reconcile what the hell I had done to deserve such a cruel fate.
Thank god my driving leg was spared. I tried calling Alex and Max, but no one picked up the phone. I decided to try and make it to their house. I started the car, still crying, and began to drive. It wasn’t until I lit a cigarette and began to take a drag that I could calm myself down.