‘So, what d’you reckon? Can I take you out on a date?’
I read the text on my phone and felt my heart start to race.
A guy called Luke*, 27, had messaged me out of the blue on Facebook three weeks earlier and we’d been chatting ever since.
I had five kids aged nine to three – Harvey, nine, Connor-Jay, 11, Alfie, seven, Layla, four, and Mollie, three – and hadn’t been dating much since splitting with their dad.
‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ I thought to myself.
‘I’d love to!’ I replied.
We arranged for him to come and pick me up the next day and thought we’d then decide what to do for the evening.
I took my time getting dressed, applying a layer of mascara and a dab of lip gloss so I looked first date ready.
I tried to shake off the nerves, but I had butterflies swirling in my stomach as I opened the door and ran out to his silver BMW convertible waiting for me outside my house in Easton, Bristol.
‘Hi,’ I said shyly as I jumped into the car.
‘Nice to finally meet you,’ Luke said with a grin.
‘You too… nice car,’ I stammered.
I desperately wanted to break the ice, but I needn’t have worried.
If chatting to Luke on Facebook had been nice, it was nothing compared to how easily the conversation flowed in person.
The only annoyance was how fast he drove in his swanky car.
‘Maybe he’s just another boy racer,’ I thought to myself, silently wishing he’d slow down.
We zoomed across the dual carriageway as we debated which restaurant to go to for dinner.
‘Could play it safe with a Nandos…’ he suggested teasingly.
‘I don’t mind, just please don’t kill me first!’ I joked, my hands clutching my seat belt.
I glanced down to check my texts, wondering what time the kids would be home from their dad’s the next day, when Luke let out a yelp.
Before I had time to ask what was wrong, the car was spinning and I watched in horror as the passenger side headed straight for the nearby pavement.
Luke swerved and we slammed into a wall.
I was flung forward and my head smashed into the window before everything turned black.
I blinked slowly, coming around minutes later.
I glanced down and saw I was covered in glass and dust, and strangers were pulling me out of the car.
‘Are you OK?’ they shrieked.
The smell of petrol suddenly wafted towards me, snapping me out of it.
‘Can you smell fuel? Please get me out of here!’ I cried.
It took four people to heave me out and I felt like I was in a film as I was carried on to the porch of the person who’s garden we had crashed into.
I cried out in pain as they set me down – it was excruciating, and seemed to be coming from all over my body.
An ambulance arrived and paramedics immediately set about cutting my clothes off to assess the damage.
I was in too much pain and too confused to even be embarrassed that I was laying naked in a stranger’s porch.
As the paramedic sliced open my jacket sleeve, I couldn’t help but gasp.
‘Oh my god!’ I cried, staring in shock.
My wrist had snapped completely in half and was dangling limply, so far back it was touching my forearm.
I realised I was wheezing and started to feel myself panic.
I was loaded into the ambulance and sped off to Southmead Hospital, Bristol, in a blur of morphine, where I was scanned to see the full extent of the damage.
Doctors found I had a break in my breast bone – which is why I’d been struggling to breath – and had broken several ribs.
Worst of all was my floppy wrist, where the ball joint had been completely smashed by the impact of the crash.
I constantly felt in pain and didn’t want my children to see me in such a state, so I told their dad not to let them see me for a few days.
It felt like a nightmare – I couldn’t believe things had gone so wrong.
The doctors he realigned my wrist while I was sedated but it was still killing me, so they’d warned me it would need doing again.
After a few days of rest, I was finally reunited with my little ones.
‘Mummy!’ they squealed as they all came running over to me and I felt my eyes well up with tears the second I saw them.
My youngest, Mollie, three, came barrelling up to me, ready for a big cuddle.
It broke my heart to have to push her gently away.
‘Mummy has a bad arm,’ I said sadly, showing her my bandaged wrist.
Once they’d gone, doctors confirmed I’d need another realignment before they could operate on my wrist to repair the breaks.
‘How long am I going to be stuck here?’ I groaned.
‘It’ll be a good few weeks, I’m afraid,’ the doctor confirmed apologetically.
It turned out to be even longer, and I didn’t leave hospital for four months.
I spent my 27th birthday, Christmas and even saw in the New Year in hospital, away from my children while their dad looked after them.
By the end of it all, I felt completely defeated and could never have imagined that this would be how I’d start 2019.
Hospital had been lonely and I was desperate to get back to reality.
I’d wanted to go home for so long, that when it finally was time in February, I was over the moon.
I quickly settled back into my normal life – with one very big difference.
I couldn’t stand being in a car.
Even walking on a busy road gave me the chills, let alone getting on a bus to go to work.
When I started back up at work in a nightclub, I took to walking the hour-plus long journey that used to take me half the time on the bus.
I haven’t heard a peep from Luke since that night and I don’t want to ever see him again.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary investigated the crash, but the case was closed due to lack of evidence.
It was the worst first date in history.
I heard he was taken to the hospital too but left a lot quicker than I did, but he hasn’t even messaged me to see how I am.
It’s probably for the best – after all, I certainly wasn’t keen for a second date!