in the lifespan of a mayfly

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 07, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 07, 2016





Hit by a force I had never experienced before, my world was ripped apart in a matter of searing seconds. Shards of acute glass propelled themselves from the windscreen through the air and embedded in their individual targets. To my right, the driver’s side door was beaten in by the brute force of a foolish drunkard’s car bonnet. Distorted metal encircled and challenged the flimsiness of human flesh from all directions. Bright, striking lights radiated from the scene and debris shadowed perilous sights. A tsunami of heat swept itself across the crash scene and the taste of burning tyres unsettled my stomach and hindered my breathing. A cargo lorry rested on its side in the hedgerow, a trail of skid marks engraved into the tarmac of the road, its contents lay strewn all over like fallen jenga blocks. Firefighters helplessly attempted to battle their opponent, all the while dragging and supporting numerous lifeless forms through obstacles of twisted and scorched metal. Darkness clouded my vision, and fear brought me back.

I can recall the first moments of the worst evening of my life perfectly, the rest is a hazy mess of jumbled up, out of focus imagery, fear, and physical pain. I gradually lost what was left of my mind in those horrendous flashbacks………….blue flashing lights and yellow, blazing fire,… futile screaming,… crimson blood slicked through greasy hair, coating the back of my neck…………………………………………… a lifeless, limp hand rapidly losing heat and blood, lay abandoned against my right thigh. The creaking hinge of a door opening turned my attention to my friend who was driving and had suffered the worst of the impact. Unwillingly, my consciousness drifted away and I couldn’t draw myself back.

I emerged from the limbo of unconsciousness but with all my strength, I still couldn’t move a single stubborn muscle. Tears streamed down my face as my seatbelt was unclipped and I was carried to solitary safety by ambulance workers in florescent yellow anoraks. I was injected with a drug that made my eyelids heavy and drowned the terror from my head. A white illumination hijacked my mind.

I roused once again but this time to the sound of a steady beeping. My eyes were numb with a generous coating of salty sleep. My skin felt sickeningly waxy. My lips were parched and rusty. Some friendly chemical pumped through my blood, making life feel uncomfortably painless. A crisp white sheet trapped my body heat and wires connected me to intimidating grey machines which beamed a dubious green light on the bare, dull walls.

A sudden bullet of despair shot through my heart when my mind came to realisation once again at what had happened. The rise and fall of my shoulders was more prominent than when I woke. My breathing was staccato as I struggled to draw oxygen. A weight dropped inside me and blue butterflies slapped the inside of my torso with their knife encrusted wings. My puffy eyes welled up with fresh tears and the mechanical beeping beside me sped up. Pulses and shock were sent tingling through my limbs and throbbing through my vital organs. A stabbing pain attacked my heart and melancholy smothered my entire being.

A nurse suddenly burst through the grey double-doors near the foot of my metal-framed bed. She quickly unhooked a clipboard which hung with an obligatory and medical air about it on one of the metal bars, and hurriedly skimmed her eyes over it. Her voice was calming, but she was just another vague figure that entered and then left my life. She was not someone I would want to remember for her part in keeping me alive. Her eyes were the underwater hue of an iceberg. Just like those of my best friend. She eased a glass of water to my thirsty lips. When she took the glass away, it was half empty. Half empty.

She told me with a heavy heart that the death list was incessantly growing. They would be releasing the list of casualties and deaths in the next few hours. They still didn’t know who the culprit was for ruining the lives of many unlucky victims and families, and the biggest vehicle accident in modern history. A sour and murderous feeling married my melancholy and made its home in me.

I still couldn’t move any part of my body, though I had the urge to wallop that nurse across the face for her pointless purpose of sending me empty optimism throughout those painstaking, drawn-out hours of misery. Her calm dandelion seedling voice floated in one ear and out the other to be deposited in a lonely corner of the depressing room. Her iceberg blue eyes did not belong to her, but the person I loved most in the world and will be perpetually in my heart no matter how futile the situation is. By the time the two hands clasped each other on the stroke of midnight, not a familiar name was on either list, and through all the agony felt since the accident, we managed to find each other again.

Minute scissors nipped at my voice box and their thieving accomplices stole away the unspoken words from the tip of my tongue……leaving me speechless. It’s surprising how many feelings can be endured in the lifespan of a mayfly……this is just a fraction of it. My vision blurred again as my eyes welled up and salty beads started to trickle down my face. So many tears were shed during the past few days that there was no need for the rain to come and it bid us our time alone.

By the day of the funeral, my body was back in working order. My mind will never revive itself completely from the accident, but even though the glass was half empty of water, it was technically always full, whether it be air or water……hope or futility. We didn’t wear the usual attire for a funeral. We wore the brightest shade of blue we could find in our wardrobes, nor was there a good turnout for the ceremony, just my best friend and me. As I lowered the small but well embellished coffin into the earth, the first droplet of a heavy rainstorm descended and landed on the lid of the wooden box. The two of us stood in the heavy, threatening shower and smiled as we hugged out the relief of being two of the rare survivors from the crash, only one limb short of normality. We strolled hand in hand through the trees which bowed and parted before us in our honour and in respect as we left behind the grave where we laid my friend’s abandoned and lifeless arm to rest.



© Copyright 2018 Eileen Cloonan. All rights reserved.

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