Love comes from strange places (short story)

People scuttled around the grocery store with their masks on. A middle aged woman looked at me, her mouth gaping in shock. I wasn’t wearing a mask and her unabashed judgement made me feel ashamed. I tried not to look at her. It was Saturday during the Coronavirus pandemic. I couldn’t bear being at my house, alone, doing nothing. Boredom had driven meetups to buy some wine. My plan for the evening involved getting plastered on crisp Pinot Grigio while watching OSCAR winning movies.

With the bottles rattling in the passenger seat I drove home. I was in a black mood so I was doing my best to think happy thoughts. As I rounded a sharp bend in the road a possum ran in front of my car and I swerved. Unfortunately I was on a mountain road with a sharp cliff edge and my car cut through the barrier and sailed through the air. I scrambled in my seat which was pointless as it only took a couple of seconds for the car to hit the ground. Gravity crushed the body of the car into the earth with me in the middle. I blacked out.

Maible was not enjoying her hike. The mosquitos were gorging on her legs and some idiot had driven his car off the cliff. The steaming pile of metal sat in front of her making little hissing noises. “Hello” she called out. Fucking idiot she thought. No one could hear her, they were obviously dead. Maible had long red hair and jean shorts, the kind that were so short you could see the pockets. She called them her naughty shorts. The wind tousled her hair as she approached the car. The door wasn’t really attached so she kicked it aside. A body sat in the front seat, he was all mashed up, blood covered his face. She tried not to look at his legs which were bent the wrong way, it looked like they weren’t attached to anything. Revolting. She called 911, her hands shaking as she dialed.

Maible road in the ambulance, not wanting to leave the poor man alone with the EMT’s. She couldn’t bear the thought of him waking up in the hospital alone. He probably wouldn’t wake up. Maible’s father had died when she was young. Her parents were divorced, so he was alone when he had the heart attack. By the time the hospital contacted her mother, he had already passed away. No one should have to die alone.

That night Maible slept in the waiting room. The doctors said emergency surgery might take 3 to 8 hours. It took 10 hours. 3 surgeons worked in shifts. They had filled his deflated body with 12 pints of donor blood. The doctors were perplexed, the man should be dead. Ben should be dead. The police had recovered his ID and passed the information onto the hospital. They hadn’t been able to contact any family though. Perhaps he didn’t have any.

Maible came back to the hospital every day for 6 weeks. In her usual chair in the corner of Ben’s room she heard a cough. She moved herself in his line of sight and one dark eye focused on her. It took another 10 minutes of coughing as Maible gave him tiny sips of water through a straw before he could speak.

“You’re my nurse?” Asked Ben.

“No, I’m Mayble. I found you after the accident.”

“The Pinot Grigio.”


“I had gone to the store to buy Pinot Grigio. Do you know if the possum is alright.”

“What possum?”

“Never mind.”

Ben’s one good eye closed and he fell asleep.

They got to know each other over the next few days. Ben was awake for a little longer each day. Maible told him that she was temporarily not working. He clarified this meant unemployed and she looked embarrassed. Ben told her all about his love for French cheese and his hope to one day go to Mars. She found him eccentric, which she liked. It took 4 weeks before Ben could go home. He was in a wheelchair so Maible helped him find a cab and get into his apartment. Thank God he had an elevator. They got Chinese takeout and watched The Godfather. Maible thought it was the best movie ever made and Ben hated it. He didn’t say anything. He watched Maible’s face as she stared at the screen. She had a dimple on one side of her face which he was becoming obsessed with.

After 6 months Ben was off crutches and back to leading a normal life. He text Maible every day at her request, letting her know he wasn’t dead. It felt strange to text with a girl every day. That had never happened with anyone apart from his mother who was a bossy jewish Italian woman.

After 2 years Maible asked Ben to marry her. She got down on one knee while they were walking in the park and presented a thin silver band with a tiny ruby in it. Ben broke down crying. It was horribly embarrassing and Maible gave him a little shake.

“Snap out of it.” She said.

“Yes.” Said Ben between sobs.

Maible shrieked, throwing her arms around Ben.



Experience Designer. Writer. High school dropout. Wizard.

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