Monday, September 3, 2007

Paper, Pregnancy and the Princess

Written by Misssy M of The Misssy M Misssives

31st August 1997, 1am (Paris time): A Mercedes-Benz drives at speed through Pont de l'Alma tunnel. The inhabitants of the car are contract driver, Henri Paul; Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed,also known as Dodi; Trevor Rees Jones, a body guard and Diana Princess of Wales, an icon.

In Aberdeen, Scotland a 28 year old woman lies awake next to her sleeping husband, Meeester.

The Mercedes crashes.

Misssy M is preoccupied.

1.30am: Ambulances arrive. The driver is dead. Dodi Fayed shows no sign of life but a resuscitation attempt is made. Trevor Rees Jones and Diana Princes of Wales are alive. Rees has facial injuries and is rushed to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. Diana is crouched on the rear passenger floor with her back to the road. Ambulance crews cannot remove her.

Misssy thinks she might be pregnant.

1.45am: News breaks of a serious accident involving royalty. Journalists everywhere are called into work.

2am: Diana is freed from the wreckage and is rushed to Pitié-Salpêtrière. She is alive.

Misssy wonders if she is ready. What time can she get a test? Do all night garages sell pregnancy tests?

2.15am: Surgeons discover that Diana’s heart has been displaced to the right side of her chest. Her pulmonary vein and the pericardium are torn. They operate immediately.

3.30am: Meeester gets up for his early morning shift.

Surgeons struggle to repair the damage in Diana’s chest cavity.

Meeester goes out the front door being careful not to waken his wife.

4am: Doctors pronounce Diana dead.

Meeester arrives at work at the same time as James Naughtie of the Radio 4 Today Programme arrives at his. The Radio 4 schedule is abandoned. Naughtie delivers news of a terrible accident.

4.30: Jean-Pierre Chevènement France's Interior Minister and Sir Michael Jay, British Ambassador meet with police to discuss the press release.

5am: Meeester phones Misssy.

“Put the telly on. Something has happened. I’m sorry. Happy Paper Anniversary by the way.”

Peter Sissons is on the BBC. Sissons on a Sunday? Diana has been injured. Dark footage at a tunnel shows chaos. It is light outside in Aberdeen. What is going on? What time is it?

Calls are placed to next of kin by police and diplomats.

5.10am: Misssy thinks about chemist opening hours, but sits glued to the television. Journalists interview other journalists. Misssy clicks on Radio 4. Naughtie? On a Sunday? She puts the kettle on, then switches it off again. It’s too early for tea.

Sissons is interviewing Jennie Bond, the BBC’s Royal Correspondent. She knows nothing and is talking about Diana and Dodi’s recent holiday in the South of France.

5.20am: Misssy turns the TV up as she puts the kettle on again.

5.30am: Diana’s death is announced to the world’s press. The BBC are still saying Diana is seriously injured.

6am: Misssy gets dressed in front of the television. Diana’s death is announced. Half dressed, Misssy sits down.

More journalists interview other journalists. Paparazzi apparently ran the car off the road. Stock footage of Diana is shown being hounded by press when she was nineteen, holidaying with her children and getting married to Prince Charles. Sissons is looking tired and upset.

9.30am: Misssy leaves the house. The streets are empty.

Tony Blair is interviewed outside his local church.

9.40am: Safeway is open. There are six cars in the car park. Misssy feels weird. Oh my god, her kids. She is not a royalist, but she might be a mum. She starts to cry in the car.

Finding out about new life doesn’t seem right today.

10.15: Misssy returns home and turns on the television once again. She reads the instructions on her pregnancy test and pees on a stick.

10.25: Sissons is speculating about the Royal Household. The Queen is believed to be in Balmoral.

Thirty miles from Balmoral, Misssy looks at two little purple lines side by side. On the television people talk of nothing ever being the same again.

Misssy starts to cry with happiness.

It’s a strange day.

Every year, this is what I think about this week.

Blog Blurb: I am Misssy M of the Flying Martinis. I write true stories.


Annie said...

I love this. It made me cry. Not for Diana, tragedy as it was - but for your thrill of seeing those two lines - I know very well that feeling and nothing, nothing comes close!

The Farmers Wife said...

It must have been a very strange day, so many contrary emotions.

Evelyn said...

How emotionally confusing was that?!? Congratulations, belated, but congratulations anyway! That's quite a mind full! Thanks for sharing that!

Lavender said...

What an emotional roller coaster day you had, and it makes for a great story - Thanks for sharing it!

melody is slurping life said...

Great write of your memories of the day. Confusion of emotions indeed.

Misssy M said...

Annie: My word, something I wrote made someone cry! Result! Thanks!

Wifie, Lavender, Evelyn, Melody: It was a weird day right enough. On the anniversary this year, I actually told the story to my son who was of course the catalyst for the two purple lines and is now nine and more interested in whether anyone was decapitated in the crash. Little boys, eh? Ghouls!

Mama Zen said...

Great post! Diana's death was the first death of a celebrity that really affected me. I felt like I had grown up with her, I guess.

nutmeg said...

I found this post extremely well written for two reasons: one, you stuck to the facts, allowed the details to create the emotion rather than spelling it out too much, and two, the post rings of the rhythm of life, the natural ebb and flow. Beautifully done!

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