As I finished watching a series that I ended up loving (despite everyone hating it) called HIStory4: Close To You, there was a character that popped up that I hadn’t even remembered existed until a few episodes later when his boyfriend showed up. They were in HIStory3: Make Our Days Count, but for some reason, I blocked out that entire season of the show. During the last episode, they had a reunion of the side characters from Make Our Days Count, and I had a vague reminder of the show. I remembered that I had really liked all those characters but for some reason, I could not remember what that season was about… and I’d only just watched it around Christmas.
So I started rewatching it after I finished Close To You, and about 4 episodes in, I remembered why I blocked out this show. It very closely resembled my life circumstances, especially the last two episodes. Now, I’m going to spoil it for you so just be aware. At the end of episode 9, one of the main characters abruptly dies after being hit by a car, and the tenth and final episode is about how he has dealt with that grief years later. The answer is not very well.
It’s funny because as I was rewatching it, I realized that the character that had popped up in Close To You is actually my favorite character in all of the series (HIStory3: Trapped is actually my favorite season of all of them). Old Sun doesn’t struggle with his sexuality, he knows who he likes, despite the age difference, he works hard, he wears his heart on his shoulder, and he’s serious without being self-serious or unable to still maintain his friendships. He’s incredibly endearing as a character, and I was partially mad at myself for forgetting about one of my favorite tv characters when he reappeared years later on a different season.
As I was on about episode four, musing about how ready I was to traumatize myself by rewatching the series, a sudden crash and the sound of metal crunching howled outside my front door. I put on my shoes, ran outside and jumped on the picnic table in front of my door to look over the white fence that shields my yard from the main road.
I could see the sparkle of shattered glass shimmer across the street and the headlights shining into the bushes and beyond to the railroad tracks. I immediately jumped off the table as a car screeched to a stop, and I ran through the gate as the rest of my neighbors started coming out their doors to see what had happened. I pulled out my phone and dialed 911 as I started to cross the first two lanes across the road. When I reached the divider, I realized that the man from the car that had stopped was already on the phone with the operator. Which was for the best since I was placed on hold.
I crossed the other two lanes and couldn’t quite figure out what I was looking at. The hunk of metal lodged into the tree looked far too small to be a full-sized car. But as I came to the side of the tree where the drivers side door was lodged into it, I almost tripped over the entire back of the car where the word Corvette glistened in the light. The back tire was wrapped around the tree like the hook of a candy cane.
More of my neighbors started pouring out into the streets and rushing over. I heard my neighbor Julia scream out, “DON’T MOVE HIM!” One of the homeless people who live under the bridge next to our property screamed out, “THE DRIVER HAS NO PULSE!”
I ran around to the other side to see if Julia needed any help. She already had gloves on, having been trained as a police officer before her cancer diagnosis forced her into early retirement, and was holding the passenger’s neck.
He was young, probably just 19, with long, golden hair matted with blood. Underneath the passenger’s airbag that had deployed I saw the shoulder of the driver. When the side of the car hit the tree, the force knocked the driver onto the floor of the passenger side. A squad car roared up and started screaming for everyone to get out of the way, at this moment, the passenger came to in a panic.
He started flailing his arms back and forth while Julia tried to tell him to stop moving. He started speaking a language that no one could understand, but I recognized it and ran back to Julia’s side after following the officer’s orders. My Russian was very rusty but I asked him his name.
I looked at Julia, “His name is Vlad.”
As his panic increased, Vlad, probably sensing something on top of his legs started kicking out, not realizing that it was the body of the driver draped over him.
“Tell him to calm down and stop moving!”
“I don’t if my Russian as that good, but I’ll try,” so I looked at him and said in Russian, “Stop move. Friend there.” I repeated it a couple of times before he stopped kicking out, but his arms were still out of control.
By the time I looked up, more police officers and fire trucks had come. An officer was pulling me away and I walked around back to the drivers side of the car where there was less traffic. I noticed an officer walking up to the car that had parked just beyond the accident, shining his flashlight into the windows and asking if they had been in the accident.
“I believe the car belongs to the guy with the long hair who called 911,” I called out, almost tripping on a car door that was 20 feet away from the crash.
My neighbors all wandered around, snapping pictures and gossiping about it being possible street racing. As I stepped back over the bushes to go home, I kicked something else. It was a gym bag that had flown out.
Three different police officers asked me several times whether or not I heard tires screech, since there were no visible skid marks on the road.
I was just sitting around thinking about a tv show where someone dies without warning when suddenly that very concept came true right outside my door. The driver was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
I didn’t sleep a wink.