Monday, 27 November 2017

| journal | 2017 | 11 | 27 | [submission piece] chances |

just to confirm, this is not real.

Black ice is one of the true dangers on our roads. If it was actually black, we'd see it - a contrast against the asphalt - and our brains would realise something was wrong. In reality, it's completely clear, meaning motorists are at an increased risk of a collision because unlike other hazards, this one is completely silent.

It caught me by complete surprise then when my box shaped Up lost traction on the road down to my club. At 60 miles per hour it look less than four seconds to impact the oncoming car. There was nothing I could do.

The first point is, I'm sorry.

I've never been late to pick you up from the station, and should never have been taking this detour in the first place.

I also know you forgot your warm coat so would probably be getting cold. I hope the police don't take too long in contacting you. Though I don't know if they'll know to. My thoughts momentarily turn to attempting to unlock my phone, but there isn't time.

Secondly, I acknowledged that this may truly be it, and I hadn't really worked out what life was about. I hadn't had the chance and was always stalling.

I was suddenly feeling more than I ever had before. That's how you know that it's really happening.

I could feel my clothes against my skin, make out the fear in the other driver's eyes and hear a bird in the distance. The seatbelt digging into my body was making so much contact we were becoming one, and for a split second I hoped that it would be able to pass on all the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing. This couldn't be it. I needed them to know.

The scream I emitted was a culmination of all the emotions; the things I wanted to tell my parents, my friends, the memories they'd never heard, the stories I'd always intended to tell. There was so much. How could I?

Importance was blurring and my focus was suddenly pulled by the fact it was 9:32. I couldn't draw my eyes from the numbers on my dashboard. It was all happening at once, I was both outside and inside - the pavement felt cold under my bare feet.

I hit the front right of the 4x4 coming toward me, and my car collapsed in on itself. The first thing I felt was my ribs breaking against the steering wheel. Then the airbag exploded, leaving a smell in the air that wasn't as unpleasant as you'd think. The blood on the dashboard was a darker shade of red that I'd ever imagined, and it glistened, reflecting the low summer sun.

I thought my windscreen would break more than it had, and the coins were still in place in my centre console. It was weird the information I was processing. Pain in my finger was greater than that filling my crushed torso, and I desperately wanted to wiggle my toes, locked in place by crushed metal.

I'm sorry.

The third point here is I had five missed calls from my mum and the texts from my dad weren't really answered - they never were going to be. There was so much to say that would never be said, instead being second guessed at for years. But whilst the living have to live the things they never got to say, I never get to feel them.

My lung had collapsed and my arms weren't the shape they were meant to be.

A van comes round the corner, hitting the back of my already beaten up vehicle. I'm spinning again.  By now, the pain is gone. My brain is shutting down and I'm alone with my thoughts. Time is taking forever.

Four. I wasn't prepared. Twenty feet I'd say, and I have so much left to say to you all. It's a noble goal to die content with the last things you said to the people you love and I've really not done a good job at all. I'm not even sure if I could do that with another sixty years but at least I know I needed to try. Chances shouldn't be wasted.

A fourth and a half point. Jealousy. When they lose me, they'll have the rest of their lives to speak to the memory - they can walk themselves through a forgiveness that may never truly have happened. Which by the way, it wouldn't. But you can't rebuke an effort to make peace when you're dead.

I'm running out of numbers. The fifth. You're all going to be forced to guess and speculate and you'll get it wrong. You won't know how I actually feel about you. He won't know how much I hate what he did but could never seem to put that into action. She won't know that I'm filled with more regret about what happened between us than anything else. I love that your eyebrows don't match. Thoughts are just flying through me. I don't think I've ever told you that the smile you do when I'm being stupid is my favourite so I muck up on purpose.

It's clear I'm not going to make it. My car has come to a halt and I'm hunched forward over the steering wheel. It hurts to be alive now. I want the pain to go. I'm ready. There are voices outside my car, people are trying to rescue me.

It all makes sense. Life is too short and the days are too long and we never say what we should because we're always waiting for the right time. But now I've missed any time and you've missed those chances too. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not thinking and not saying and not doing.

I paused and now look. I should have moved, I should not have waited.