A fifth-grade bully, a blossoming romance, a late-night crash
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Susan Parker’s memoir Tumbling After (Crown) has been optioned for film rights by HBO. She teaches writing classes in the Bay Area.
After a cycling accident left my husband, Ralph, a quadriplegic, I had a furtive fear that, given the opportunity, I might bolt. I might up and leave him and all his problems. Like a deer avoiding an oncoming vehicle, I’d dash away and disappear forever into the safety of a thick, impenetrable forest.
“Leroy’s going to stay here for a little while,” Jerry announced to my husband Ralph and me one day. Leroy stood behind him looking skinny and frail, dressed in a frayed nylon sweat suit and carrying a paper sack of belongings.
The Sun doesn’t usually report on current events, but September’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. marked a turning point for all of us. We put out a call to our writers, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy and its aftermath. The response was overwhelming. As word got around, we received submissions not only from regular contributors but from writers who are new to The Sun’s pages.
I’ve heard the story of Ralph’s bicycle accident so many times that it gets on my nerves. Ralph tells it over and over, whenever anybody asks, and even when they don’t. The story goes like this: He went out on Tuesday for his regular sixty-mile training ride. As he came down the hill off Grizzly Peak onto Claremont Avenue, the front tire of his Italian racing bike went flat. He went up on the embankment, riding on the rim. Then he lost control, went headfirst over the handlebars, and landed on his back, snapping his neck in the process.