This is Jeremy again, the DAK amputee I’m sure you’ve come to know and love. For those of you who neither know nor love me, my story is that I had my legs ripped off in a car accident after my first year of medical school (I’m a medical intern now). They couldn’t save either leg and now I’m a full-time wheelchair user.
The big event in my recent life was my five-year college reunion last month. I always thought it was a little ridiculous that there was a reunion only five years after we graduated, but I guess it’s a good way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a little while. It was pretty casual, just in a bar, nothing too special.
My parents got the letter about it at their house and I was actually sort of surprised my mother told me about it. I went to college with my ex-girlfriend Wendy (who I was engaged to before my accident) and I know they wanted to protect me from seeing her again. But I guess my mom thought I might be pissed if I found out later and she never told me. After all, I’m an adult and it’s my own decision if I want to go.
Initially, I was anxious about going. I talked to my girlfriend Gina about it. She actually just had her ten-year college reunion (she’s a little older than me) and she thought it was kind of silly to have a reunion with people you had just been going to school with five years ago.
She was sort of missing the point, which was that I hadn’t seen anyone from my college since I lost my legs. Well, that’s not 100% true. My best friend from college, Eric (who would have been my best man), visited me in the hospital and we’ve emailed a little bit since then, but we haven’t kept in great touch. Other than that, I’ve avoided any situations where I might run into someone from my past, and I think most people probably didn’t hear that I had an accident. I didn’t really feel like answering questions all night about what happened to me.
Then there was also the possibility of running into Wendy, which was actually a pretty good possibility. I had not talked to Wendy at all since we broke up, so I had no idea what was going on in her life. To be honest, I kind of hoped she was miserable. But I figured that the most likely thing was she was doing okay.
Ever since Wendy and I broke up, I sort of built up this fantasy in my head. It’s sort of dumb. I picture running into her and when she sees me, she realizes she’s made a big mistake and she wants to get back together. In my fantasy, sometimes I take her back and sometimes I don’t.
Anyway, I didn’t tell all this to Gina, obviously. I liked Gina a lot, but I think things could be a little better in our relationship. She was my girlfriend, but we’re not exactly exclusive. That is, she went out with other guys sometimes, which annoyed the hell out of me. One time she even broke a date with me to go out with someone else, which really really hurt my feelings. I almost broke up with her after that, but we managed to patch things up.
I said to Gina sometimes that I want to be more serious with her, but she said she’s not ready for that. Honestly, she’s 32 years old and we were going out for over six months, so I don’t know what it means that she’s not ready. We made out sometimes but that’s about as far as it goes. If I tried to even get my hand under her shirt, she pulled away—I felt like I’m in high school or something. I was horny as hell too, so I thought she was going to wind up killing me, but I was never one to get pushy with a girl. My friend Michelle kept saying I should dump her, but I did like her a lot, so I waited patiently until she’s “ready”.
I asked Gina if she’d come with me to the reunion. She said, “Do I have to?”
I said to her, “No, you don’t have to. But I’d really like it if you could be there with me.” (And then I kissed her, hoping to seal the deal.)
So she agreed to go with me, but being typical Gina, she backed out on me the day before, after I had already bought the tickets. I sort of blew up at her, which I never ever do, but I was so angry at her for abandoning me at the last minute like that. I couldn’t help but feel that Gina felt she could take advantage of me because of my disability, like she thinks I can’t get anyone else. I think I said something like, “What do you have, a date with another guy?”
“That’s not fair,” she said to me. “And even if I did have a date, it’s not any of your business.”
That made me really furious. Understand, I am not a short-tempered guy, but I don’t like being treated like crap. I generally take everything with a grain of salt and I don’t even remember the last time before that when I yelled at someone, so I don’t want you to think that I’m like that. I never even yell at my medical students, which says a lot. (They all think I’m really nice.)
So I said to Gina, “I think that as your boyfriend, it is my business!”
“You’re not my boyfriend,” Gina said. This is a little game she plays, acting like the fact that we go out every weekend doesn’t mean we’re a couple. Like I said, she’s got this huge fear of commitment.
Anyway, I got even angrier when she said that and I think I even called her a bitch or something like that. In any case, she hung up on me (which I know I deserved).
I was ready to not go to the reunion after that, but eventually I just said screw it. I didn’t need to have a girlfriend with me. I’m a doctor, just like I wanted to be when I was in college and I’m proud of that fact. So I decided to go.
The reunion was at this sort of bar/club type place, which the alumni had reserved for the night. I had already checked it out and knew the place was accessible. I have a pretty large class so I didn’t see anyone I knew really well right away. It kind of gave me a chance to hang back and absorb the dynamic, which was a good thing.
To my surprise and good luck, my friend Eric was the first person who recognized me. “Jeremy!” he yelled. “I can’t believe you made it! Are you a doctor yet?”
“Yep, I finally am,” I said.
We got beers at the open bar and we talked for a while and he didn’t mention me being in a wheelchair or anything. Eric was an I-banker, still working ridiculous hours and living with his girlfriend. We reminisced about old times and gradually people we knew started coming over to talk to us. It was weird because absolutely nobody asked me about my being in a wheelchair. I thought for sure that somebody would say something about it, but nobody did. A few people did seem surprised, but nobody said anything at all. Eric told me later that everyone who knew me well had already heard what happened and the people who didn’t know me well were probably too afraid to ask. Also, it was pretty obvious that my legs were gone, so it wasn’t like they needed to ask why I couldn’t walk anymore.
A few people did ask me about Wendy, like, “how’s Wendy doing?” And I had to tell them that we had broken up. But it wasn’t as hard to tell them that, because it seemed like a lot of the couples from college had wound up breaking up. Most people seemed surprised about me and Wendy though, because I guess we were more stable than a lot of the other couples. It pretty clear to people as early as junior year that we planned to stay together and get married.
I got a lot of comments like, “Wow, you look really good!” and dumb stuff like that. I have to say, my life was more in order than a lot of my old friends. Some of them had gotten married, but most of them didn’t have any kind of decent career. A lot of them, Eric included, were talking about going back to graduate school and doing something completely different with their lives. A few guys even said they were going back to med school, which surprised me a lot.
The whole time I was talking to people, I was keeping an eye out for Wendy. It sort of occurred to me that the whole reason I had come to this reunion was because I was hoping to run into her. The truth was, I missed her a lot. I was used to seeing her every day, through all of college and the first year of med school. Now I hadn’t seen her for four years.
I finally said to Eric after being there for an hour, “Have you talked to Wendy lately?” (I said it all casual, like I didn’t care. Yeah, right.)
“Yea,” Eric said. Eric was the only person I had told about my break-up with Wendy, although I didn’t tell him all the details. I just told him to stop writing the best man speech. I was actually sort of irritated to find out he was keeping in touch with Wendy when he was barely keeping in touch with me, his best friend.
“Is she coming tonight?” I asked him.
“I think she is,” Eric said. He paused a long time, then said, “Jeremy, you should know: she got married last year.”
When Eric said that, I wanted to die right then and there. I couldn’t believe Wendy had gotten married. She was supposed to marry me, goddammit. How could she have found someone else who she loved and who loved her as much as me? It didn’t seem possible. She was my Wendy.
I thought I was going to start crying, but I managed to stay composed. I think Eric saw how upset I was, because he said, “They’re not nearly as good together as you two were. He’s not her type at all.” Except that only made me feel worse, for some reason.
By the time Wendy actually showed up, I was drunk, which might have been a good thing. She looked really really pretty. It was like I had forgotten how hot she was during the last four years. I mean, I liked Gina a lot and I’ve dated other attractive girls, but Wendy is my exact type that I like best. When we first started going out, I was always in disbelief that I had gotten such a hot girlfriend.
I was watching her out of the corner of my eye for a while before she finally came over. I was alone at that point, sitting in my wheelchair by the bar, drinking a beer. She came over and sort of crossed her arms and looked at me with a strange smile. “So, Jeremy,” she said.
“So, Wendy,” I said.
She pulled up a chair next to me, although it was a barstool so she still had quite a bit of height on me. “What’s going on?” she said. She was acting like we had just seen each other yesterday.
“I finished medical school,” I said. “I’m an intern now.”
“In surgery?” she asked. Way back when, I had talked about being a surgeon. I used to be very driven.
“No, medicine.” I was starting to feel a little self-conscious about being drunk, even though I wasn’t that drunk. I’m a pretty good drunk in that I don’t show it much, I just get dizzy. Back when I was able to walk, I used to have a lot of trouble ambulating when I drank, but it’s not so bad now that I use a wheelchair. Wendy once said she can always tell when I’m drunk because I blink my eyes a lot, although I haven’t noticed anything like that.
“I never finished my PhD,” Wendy said. “I got sidetracked. I’m teaching high school French now.”
That gave me a chance to feel a little superior. Even though I was the one who lost his legs, the guy who the dean of our school said was going to wind up on welfare, I still managed to get my degree. “I heard you got married,” I said (probably wouldn’t have said it had I been sober).
“Yeah,” Wendy said. She told me a little bit about her husband Sam, who was also a teacher. He sounded like a nice enough guy, I guess. She showed me a picture of him and I couldn’t help but think that he looked really wrong for her. He was a little bit on the older side and losing his hair. Not that I think I’m so great or anything, but I know the type of looks that Wendy likes in a guy, and I’m pretty close (or at least a lot closer than this guy). Plus I still have all my hair. And even though she rarely was willing to admit it, I know she prefers guys who are Irish Catholic like herself (and me, even though neither of us are actually religious), whereas Sam was Jewish apparently. Like I said, we were really perfect for each other.
The strangest thing was when Wendy made a joke about how too bad I wasn’t a pediatrician, because then someday she could bring her kids to me for free. I couldn’t believe she said that. Wendy and I were supposed to be having kids together. It felt so weird to hear her discussing her life with another man.
I noticed she didn’t look at my legs once the whole time. She kept her eyes on my face and didn’t look down even for a second. I guess she had made it pretty clear four years ago how she felt about my stumps.
She asked me about how my family was doing. Wendy came to stay at my parents’ house many times when we were in college, starting with Thanksgiving of our freshman year. My older brother and sister both would bring home their significant others for Thanksgiving in college, who they later wound up marrying, so it was sort of a tradition to do that. I remember being so proud to bring her home with me that first year and everyone completely accepted her into the family. Wendy came every single year we were going out for Thanksgiving, although I haven’t brought anyone home with me for the holiday since her. In any case, she knew my family pretty well and I filled her in on all the nieces and nephews I have now (although unfortunately almost never see).
I also told her about Gina, intentionally making our relationship sound more serious than it was. I just wanted her to know that somebody found me attractive even if she didn’t. The worst thing was, even after everything that had happened, I still felt very attracted to her. If she said, “Jeremy, let’s have sex right now,” I’m sure I would have said yes. But it wasn’t just about sex. I wanted her back, just in general. I forgot how much I loved her.
“D’you ever feel bad we broke up?” I asked her. I definitely wouldn’t have asked that if I wasn’t drunk.
“Jeremy, that’s an awful question!” she said. “Of course I feel bad! I regret it every day. But I don’t know, I was just so shocked to see you like that, I didn’t know how to deal with it. I had to do it. But I do miss you a lot. A whole lot. And I still love you.”
When she said that, I really did start crying. Then she started crying too and she hugged me. It felt so amazing to be hugging the woman I loved after being away from her for four years, I forgot all the bad stuff that happened between us and even the fact that she was married to someone else now.
I felt so close to her again while we were hugging, I couldn’t help but feel all the emotions I felt for her before. It was like the last four years were just erased. Without even thinking about it, I kissed her on the mouth. And to my surprise, she kissed me back.
I’m not really into describing things in detail, but I feel like I want to describe everything that happened that night with Wendy, because I don’t want to forget it. We basically backed into a dark corner of the room and started making out like crazy. This was the closest I had been to any girl, much less my Wendy, in over four years. I felt like I wanted to touch every part of her at once... I had my hands in her hair, up her shirt, under her bra. She was sitting on my “lap” in my chair, sort of balancing herself by keeping one foot on the ground. She was all over me as much as I was all over her. She even sucked on my earlobe, which is something she is the only one who knows about and it drives me crazy.
Before my accident, I never felt physically inadequate around Wendy. Like I said, I know that in terms of looks alone, she was very into me. (Maybe almost as much as I was into her.) I guess that’s why we were always all over each other. I think being with a guy who she maybe didn’t like as much made her appreciate being with me even more now. She was especially surprised (and I think pleased) when she felt my biceps and chest. She actually rubbed her hand against my upper arm and breathed, “Wow, this is new…” I mean, I wasn’t exactly out of shape before, but now I’ve got really solid muscles in my arms and chest from wheeling myself around all day and I think it really turned Wendy on.
I couldn’t help but feel a little self-conscious though about my legs, considering the way things had ended between us. When I fantasize about women now, I sometimes think about them touching my stumps and doing things to them. But with Wendy, all I could think of was when she saw my bare stumps for the first time four years ago and started crying and told me that she wasn’t attracted to me anymore, ending our engagement. But now it seemed like she had gotten over that or she at least wanted to prove to me that my stumps didn’t bother her. Several times she pressed one of her hands against my right stump, although it was usually on the path to my dick, which she managed to massage from within my pants.
Of course, I couldn’t care less who saw us making out, but I was surprised that Wendy was willing to be seen in public kissing a man who wasn’t her husband. But I guess people from college were pretty used to the sight of me and Wendy all over each other, so nobody thought much of it. We were always a very affectionate couple in college. Also, maybe she thought it was worth the risk to be with me again.
So instead of mingling with people I didn’t want to see anyway, I spent the rest of the reunion making out with Wendy in that back corner. Without exaggerating at all, it was amazing. It felt like four years of pent up lust was coming out right then and there. All I could think was that Wendy still wants me, even after all this time, even without my legs.
I remember when Wendy and I first got together during our freshman year of college, back when I was still able-bodied. We were friends, but I was secretly in love with her and I was getting the feeling she sort of liked me too. One night I decided I was going to make a move and see what happened. We rented a movie to watch in the common room of my dorm suite and over the course of the movie I got closer and closer to her on the couch. I was scared as hell but I worked up all my nerve and decided that before the end of the movie I was going to try to kiss her. And I finally did it during the closing credits. We were a couple for the next five years. I thought that was it, that she was the one.
At some point the bar started closing and they told us we had to leave. It was very awkward trying to figure out what to do next while we were outside the bar. Of course, I wanted Wendy to drive back with me to my apartment and relieve the huge hard-on I had been building up all night, but she was married now so it wasn’t as simple as it was back in college. I couldn’t help but think, “You’re supposed to be living with me now.” But I didn’t say it.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” Wendy said to me. “I love Sam and I wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt him.”
But I was first, I wanted to say. But I didn’t say that either. “I really love you, Wendy,” was what I actually said.
She started crying again and hugged me. “I love you too,” she said. I kind of knew she wasn’t going home with me though, as much as I would have been happy to dump Gina in a second for her. So she got into a cab and that was that.
I forgot the way things used to be between me and Wendy. We really had a pretty perfect relationship in a lot of ways, even though we sometimes had our problems. I know I should be with her right now, but I guess I got cheated out of that. But that night did make me realize that my relationship with Gina was making me unhappy. There was no way Gina could compare to Wendy, not the way things were now. I couldn’t be happy with a girlfriend who didn’t even want to admit she was going out with me.
When I got home, I called up Gina, even though it was late. She was still awake though. “How was the reunion?” she asked me.
“It was okay,” I lied. I took a deep breath. “Gina, I don’t know whether you went out with another guy tonight or not, but this has got to stop. Either we start seeing each other exclusively or that’s it.”
“What? Are you giving me an ultimatum?”
“No. I just want you to quit jerking me around.”
Gina didn’t even pause. “Fine, forget it then.”
“Fine, so that’s it.”
I guess she said what she said next because she was angry with me. Even though she wouldn’t commit to me, I guess she figured she had a good thing, having a boyfriend who was a doctor and would take her out to an expensive dinner whenever she wanted. What she said was, “Good luck finding another woman who’s willing to date a guy with no legs.”
I’m not going to lie and say her words didn’t sting a little, but I actually felt sort of glad when she said that. First, I know there are plenty of girls out there who are very happy to go out with a nice-looking doctor with a physical disability, so the statement is almost laughable. Second, the fact that she would even say something like that, even in anger, made me realize I had definitely made the right decision. Gina wasn’t worth my time or effort.
I don’t know if I’ll ever love anyone as much as I loved Wendy (and probably still do). If someday I hopefully get married, I’m sure I’ll love my future wife very much. If nothing else, seeing Wendy again taught me that I shouldn’t be settling for a woman is not right for me. I know that sounds sort of obvious, but I was with Gina for six months and she definitely wasn’t right for me. So maybe that was a lesson I needed to learn.
To be continued...