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March 22, 2006 [ More archived home pages here ]

Changes By Accident

Today's song is Rainy Night In Georgia by Brook Benton, released in 1969.

There was a time in my life, a few years before I met my wife, Sherry, when I was involved with another woman. The end of that love relationship came in the worst possible way, at the worst possible time, leaving the worst possible feelings a human being can feel.

Back then, we were trying to mend ourselves as a couple after a really terrible fight between us earlier in the month. The causes of that fight reflected the mutual wisdom and maturity we owed each other, but did not possess at that time in our lives. I remember all of that sorrow much too well. More about it will be revealed in my yet to be published book. Next I will relate the highlights of how our relationship died.

There was the night we tried to work it out and I think we were getting close to a solution concerning our relationship. Then an automobile accident happened that wasn't my fault. That was the beginning of the end for my girlfriend and I. This was another life event that was out of my control, caused by a stranger in this case.

Neither of us was hurt by the accident nor the other driver who, based on his poor attitude, probably had other accidents previously. In any case the amount of fender-bender damage to my mother's car was $30.

It wasn't the amount of money that was the issue, it was the issue that it happened while I was with my girlfriend. My mother did not like my girlfriend and our relationship was the cause of many uncomfortable discussions my mother and I had at that stage of my life.

I couldn't have imagined the next day after the accident, it would be the start of the end of my relationship with my girl because my mother was demanding that my girlfriend act as a witness to the auto insurance company just to avoid paying $30 to have the car fixed.

When I called my girlfriend, she told me she couldn't be a witness because at the moment of the right-side front impact, she hadn't observed the other driver swerve into us. She had been looking left at me that night before, while I was speaking to her as I drove, mending the rift between us.

After that call ended, I told my mother that piece of information. Then that whole dialog between us escalated beyond belief. It already wasn't a good time in my life for many reasons. I was already near the breaking point because of those reasons. That argument with my mother only made things worse.

The next day my mother told me I had to convince my girlfriend to "lie" and provide the insurance agent with her statement supporting that she saw the other driver cause the accident. I was torn and exhausted from the whole mess. For some reason (or perhaps, lack of one) I did as my mother demanded and the ensuing argument between my girlfriend and I brought the end of our relationship there and then on the telephone.

Had I more experience and maturity for that conversation, our relationship might have survived, at least as friends. The reality is I lost a friend, lover, and soul-mate in that heated phone call exchange. Because of too many words that should not have been said to each other, instead of the few words that really mattered; the words that always had mattered for us.

Anyone who knows me well nowadays, knows I don't like the telephone. I always would rather talk to someone in-person, or write a letter, or use email than use a telephone. I refuse to use the telephone to discuss tough matters unless I have no other choice. Believe me, I go out of my way to use other methods of communication before I use a telephone to discuss serious matters.

I've lived a long time since that breakup. It's an example of the wrong combination of events, at the wrong time, unfolding for all the wrong reasons. My life was negatively altered by an auto accident that incurred $30 in damage and a free telephone call. A more ironic situation with the magnitude of impact it had on me, I can't recall.

I have laughed at a lot of the situations I found myself in over the years. The wisdom and maturity to look back and laugh at oneself is healthy and usually provides beneficial insights when helping someone else through tough times.

Someday I hope to be able to laugh at this particular set of memories I wrote here today. But that day isn't today. It and a few more memories are still painful reminders that life situations can materialize by chance and be changed by accident.

Don


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