It all shatters right there in front of me. Glass, steel, two moving objects going at what feels like a thousand miles an hour. Was it? Is that how it really was? Everything so slow, a miss perception of time and place. Memories shifting in and out of place. Two thoughts as though they don’t exist. Two people caught in time. There was more than two? I wasn’t driving, was I? No, I was standing. Standing still as if I wasn’t even there. I no longer was there was I? I disappeared somewhere in myself. Took myself right out of there. Right out of my own thoughts and feelings. But I remember the glass.
It bounced off my face but I didn’t feel its inflicting pain. The screams all around me with no sound. Faces moving in panic, mouths open in horror, mouths open without any sound. The smell of tires and burning engines but I wasn’t even there. Where was I? Where was I standing motionless? The corner of sixth and Wellington. The burning sensation? The coffee in my hand. Two creams, less sugar. I need less sugar in my diet. Too much sugar in the coffee. Tasted too sweet, my last thoughts before the flood. The last real thought before everything took over.
People all around me. Fingers bloody, I reach out for those in front of me. Was I crying? The ground hard against my side. Everything hard to remember. Everything a blur of thoughts and emotions. Was I sad? I was very sad. No one to go home to. Family out of town and I’m stuck here working. Lonely, am I alone now? Everything is so dark. Can’t tell if I am seeing or dreaming. The merger did it go through? Important business and I’m late, but I stopped for coffee anyway. So tired, so lonely without them. They went on holiday to see our extended family. Parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. Family I find myself missing more now than ever.
Out of town. Where out of town? The roses, Fedele’s roses always smelled the sweetest. The smell of innocence and purity on my hands as I hold the flowers. Was this real? Am I there now? No, I don’t know. I see them now the flowers, but all I can smell is engines. The smell of gasoline. I taste it on my tongue. Bitter like dirty metal, hot. Were they hot? Where am I if I’m not there? Screeching tires, metal collapsing, and my ears still ringing. My ears still buzzing with that hum. Am I alive or am I dead?
Is death just nothingness or am I only in between? So many questions and no one to answer. So cold like saline going in. Washes over me, that time I was sick. Food poisoning, bad chicken, not enough fluids in me. Am I bleeding? Why can’t I breathe? Try to breathe. Gasping but it’s not working. Inhaling but nothing is happening. A rush of pain. Nerves on end. Nerves on fire. My eyes open, flood of light, emotions. “Just breathe,” the voice says. “Just breathe.” But I can’t.