Disclaimer: The characters of Twilight are owned by Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. Impact's plot and original characterizations are the intellectual property of Nise7465.
A/N: This isn't a typical Impact chapter, but I really love the way that Alec and Edward have bonded. I've been throwing this idea around in my head for a while. I see Alec embracing his new life as an individual with a disability, and I envision him living life to its fullest. I thought this might be a good way for us to get to know Alec a little better.
Last week was a rough week for me, and I really needed the catharsis I find in writing. For some reason this was bouncing around in my head as sleep evaded me. Chapter 56 is a work in progress and will be finished soonish.
I suspect that even after Impact comes to a close, Alec may have more to share. You'll find those things here. Put this on alert, if you please.
Let me know what you think.
September 12, 2008
I'm sitting here in the lounge at More Hall, on the University of Washington campus, and I'm reflecting over the ways my life has changed over the past six months.
I've had the most incredible day, and I owe so much of that to you.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I'd find myself here on the verge of realizing a dream or that I'd have had to go through everything that I have for it to have happened.
You know bits and pieces of my background... snippets of our unhappy home life surely came to light as you treated my mother as one of your patients... the little bit my Mom shared about the situation that led up to my accident... even comments from my father about his involvement...
My dad and I were always close- I was the spoiled, snotty rich kid whose daddy whisked him away to do something fun and extravagant anytime he had the chance, or I had the whim. As I got older though, instead of the fun dad who catered to my every whim, he turned serious, and the summers we had previously spent whitewater rafting or taking a two week hike across the entire Olympic Peninsula were replaced with days in the sun doing back breaking work as one of his peons while he bossed me around. When my senior year began, he made the decision that in lieu of participating in a school sport, it would be prudent for me to work after school and on weekends as well.
As a kid, I remember sitting on his desk, playing with erector sets and the model bridges we made out of Popsicle sticks. I'd look down from his office in the sky at the city that sprawled below us, and I dreamed of building skyscrapers and bridges with him. He had always told me I'd be like him; one day the family business would be mine... but I never envisioned myself as a grunt for the guys who built the bridges... I never wanted to be that... I wanted to sit behind a desk in an air conditioned office overseeing those grunts.
I was so angry. Suddenly he was too busy to spend time with me. He was never around and when he was in town, he'd come to the job site and push me to work harder, strive higher. Every time I thought I was meeting his expectations, he raised the bar. It seemed like he was constantly setting me up to fail. I didn't understand at the time, that he was trying to push me to strive for more.
I was no more than a manual laborer for Peter Leonard. I hated running wheelbarrows of cement until my back ached and my hands were blistered. I hated hossing blocks for the mason I worked under and being talked down to- like I was just any other teenager saving money for his first car and not the boss's son. All I wanted was to spend my last year of high school having fun like my classmates. I wanted to go to parties, I wanted to play ball, I wanted to go to Homecoming... he took those experiences from me.
Our home became very unhappy, and I was just as guilty as my father when it came to causing unrest. We fought constantly and my mother, my dear, sweet mother, was constantly thrust into the middle of it. I was an only child and she doted on me. She fought with my dad- she felt it should be my choice to work for the company, and if I chose to follow in his footsteps, he should be grooming me for a management position, not making me slave away in the trenches or forcing me to work my way up the ladder- one rung at a time. I understand now, that he felt I'd be a better leader... if I had experienced those facets of the job first.
When Dad began taking lengthy business trips to help facilitate the acquisition of a struggling bridge company in British Columbia, I saw it as an opportunity to have some fun. It wasn't hard to get Mom to bend and in no time she had agreed that I should cut back on my workload and spend more of my free time being a kid. She became my ally, and with Dad so wrapped up in mergers and acquisitions, it was easy to get out of the obligation he had forced me into, when he was no longer around to oversee the company projects.
Mom was taken aback when I said I wanted to learn to ride a cycle, but as long as I kept my school grades up and she got good feedback from my driver's ed instructor, she consented to my learning. I had shown that I was a responsible student and when I got my license, she had no problem letting me get the bike. My instructor, Henry, called one afternoon to let us know that a friend of his who owned a shop was selling a bike on consignment for a customer. He said something about the guy's hormonal, pregnant wife providing me with a golden opportunity.
Henry met Mom and me at the shop; I couldn't believe my eyes. The bike was a screaming machine, this thing was no grocery getter, it was a hot bike and it was built for speed. It would be a blast to drive and I couldn't wait to take it for a spin. When it came time for money to exchange hands and I came up a little short, Mom threw in the difference, muttering that my Dad would kill her if he ever found out.
The explosion that occurred when Dad saw the bike was epic. I think, when he first saw it, that he was under the misconception that it belonged to one of my buddies. Several of them had bikes, and he'd admonished me every time I rode off with one of them, but nothing prepared me for the verbal assault that hit when he realized that he and I were the only ones home and it was me who owned the bike.
Mom wasn't there to help calm him down and things quickly turned volatile, he screamed at me as he paced back and forth... when he forbid me to ever ride it again and threatened to have it hauled away, I snapped. I took off like a bat out of hell, with no rhyme or reason to where I was going. Thank God my helmet hung from handle bars, or I know I'd have never put it on my head, that helmet saved my life.
I flew through the neighborhood, and when things opened up, I kicked it down a notch. I knew that doing more than fifty in a thirty-five mile per hour zone was stupid, but I just needed to let loose- burn off some frustration, and the road ahead of me was clear- until that car door opened and took me off my bike. I managed to almost clear it, but I clipped it enough to lose control. You know the rest of that story.
When I came to, I was in the ER being prepped for surgery. I was so scared; I needed my dad to tell me it was going to be okay. Instead he screamed that I had destroyed all of their dreams... I'd ruined my life... I'd never be anything more than a welfare case. When he stormed out after telling me they wanted nothing more to do with me, I prayed I'd never wake up.
I know I've thanked you, but I need to apologize. When we met, I thought the entire world was out to get me. I hated my life, I hated my father, I hated myself and I hated you.
I was in denial.
Do you remember I actually thought my spinal cord injury was going to just miraculously go away?
You never laughed at me, never talked down and it made me so mad that you were so happy. What's that word you like to use... adjusted? Yes, you were well adjusted, and it really hurt.
You had everything I wanted for myself, but didn't have. Your family was there constantly supporting you. You had two beautiful girls falling all over you even though I had no idea at the time that one of them was your cousin. It seemed like you had the world in the palm of your hands.
Of course you were happy. Your legs would heal, and you'd go home. You'd go back to whatever happy life you had waiting on the outside... when I felt like I had nothing.
How could you possibly comprehend my pain?
I assumed your injury was temporary. I heard someone say you were in an accident, I just thought... well, you know what they say about making assumptions.
I'm so sorry I behaved like a petulant brat when you attempted to mentor me... when you tried to help me see that I had an incredible life waiting for me if I just embraced it.
I thank God every day that he stepped in and handed me that defining moment. You didn't have to get out of bed and risk your own recovery to help me that night. You could have rolled over and slept right through, and I might have had my prayers answered- to not awaken to see the light of another day.
Without one selfish thought, you took the initiative to help someone who was unworthy of your concern, and you helped to change my life.
I think back over the days that followed... and today, I wear a smile like yours. I'm becoming that well-adjusted guy, with a sweet girl on my arm.
I love playing ball with Emmett and the gang. My dad can't wait to watch us play ball. Did you know I played for the Vikings as a sophomore and a junior?
I'm preparing to embark on a college career, and in a few weeks, my dad and I are going to take another sailing course in Vancouver… a sailing course for people with disabilities.
I've got a wonderful life in the palm of my hands, and I know it's not so much a physical thing, but an attitudinal one. You were right. My mind and my ideals were the only thing standing between me and a great life.
I owe you so much, not for giving it to me, but for showing me that I could embrace this life if I chose to work for it. I can never thank you enough, my friend.
In January, I'm entering the pre-engineering program at UW. I wanted to surprise you. One of the girls at rehab walked me through all the pre-admission paper work. I got my acceptance letter yesterday and I met with my future advisor this morning.
I got in!
I'm writing you from the lounge of the building where I'll most likely be spending the next five years of my college career, and it feels so good to know that I can have this.
Thank you sounds so trivial, when I owe you so much.
The only way I can think to repay your kindness, is to do what you've done for me, and show someone else that this isn't the end of the world. It's just the beginning.
Thank you, for everything.