Thursday, 21 March 2019

A Bike Crash

And that's when it hit me.

Main Street, usually busy at that time, was quiet. The residents' parked cars were, for once, not causing an obstruction to the traffic which had long since outgrown the narrow village road. On the morning run it's a long gradual ascent, meaning that at home time, on a day like today, you just let gravity do it's work. Always covering the brakes, mind.

She was waiting to turn in. A silver, boxy car. It says something about my mind state immediately post-accident that I don't know the make and model - he who can identify cars at night just by the position of the rear lights in relationship to the number plate recess.

There were two other cars behind her. One or two others waiting to turn onto the road that we all were, at that point, sharing in accordance with the normal rules and considerations. A good number of pedestrians around too: at the bus stop, going to the shop, clearing rubbish from a garden.

They all saw her turn. They all heard me shout - if they hadn't seen me coming before that, they saw me then. But she didn't. They all saw her turn. They all saw what happened.

I'd pulled on the brakes and had begun to turn the bike so that I wouldn't hit her head-on. I managed to unclip from the pedals and, to the best of my memory, neither I nor the bike hit the ground. I was stopped in my tracks but she wasn't sticking around.

I found the pavement, and a kindly passerby who checked I was OK. He chatted about his own similar experience and commented on how he liked my bike. No physical damage to me or bike so after a few minutes I got on my way again.

Down hill. Up hill. Up big hill. Down hill. Home. Grapes. Nuts. Sent informative and 'reassuring' text to my wife. Shower. Cuppa. I really am OK.

Later on, lying in bed with headphones on, listening to a favourite album, my eyelids began to droop. A pleasant drowsiness overcame me. My eyes closed.

The car sped towards me and there was nothing I could do. I jolted awake.

And then, as I settled down to make a good go of getting the night of sleep my body (always weary after even a accident-free cycling commute) needed, the vision repeated: again and again and again. Fragments of torment pierced the thin stuff separating subconscious imagination and reality. I woke. I slept. My brain, desperate to process, projected scraps of its footage: a turning wheel, slow-motion; a brake lever, depressed, but not by enough; the back end of a disappearing car (silver). I woke. And repeat all night.

And that's when it hit me: I wasn't OK. The car had left its mark. That's when it hit me.

No comments:

Post a comment