That feeling of flying through the air that we all get at some point while we sleep is sublime. The whole experience has this slight feeling of terror mixed with the elation of weightlessness. We soar through the sky above lands that can never really exist because they are mash ups of those places that strike us as being the most beautiful in one capacity or another. We float over dreamscapes that are, at the same time, both draped in sepia toned familiarity that oozes warm, fuzzy, but still painful-because -they're-gone feelings of nostalgia and an alien fog that hangs over all those things we remember, a constant reminder, if you can notice it, that our memories are moth eaten photo albums that yellow more every year, showing just how little we really retain of ourselves. And this all goes on until we're jerked back into reality, whether by the sun, or an alarm clock, or whatever it is that grounds us. They snap us back, and there really is no mourning process. The whole thing just leaves us in an “off” mood for a while, a little bit happy that we were lucky enough to experience something akin to flight, and maybe see the landscape that rolls out in our heads for a brief second, or minute, even if it was never necessarily real, whatever that means.
That's kind of the experience of being hit by a car. This is the type of thing where you expect half of the testimony to be right, and the other half to be way off. When being struck by a car, this is only sort of right. People say time slows down. They say it hurts a great deal. They talk about the intensity of it all. They're one for three.
Being the cross-country co-captain, which is something that does not really hold any meaning because one person is inevitably the dominant party in the situation of a pair, and as a result, the true leader of the team, I was running with my friend who was the other co-captain. It was the first day of practice and we were out on our usual six mile route. In our co-captain dynamic I was the one who was captain in title only, primarily because my friend simply loved running more. The boy lived for it. He was hanging back that day because he felt like taking it easy. He had been training hard on his own, while I was faking side-cramps to get out of that same training. These actions showed. Another reason I was only co-captain, and not full captain, or even the dominant of the co-captains, aside from my lack of drive, was my lack of skill, if you can call it that, at running. The two causes for our co-captain dynamic were interlinked, and I fell behind at both, which is why I was the one who was hit by the car.
We were on the return half of the run, and because of my shirking throughout the year, I was lagging just slightly behind, feeling actual cramps and cursing myself for the manufactured ones I claimed to have experienced before. As the road wound on through the heat of the day, Paul, who was my friend and the dominant of the two co-captains, lead by just a few feet as we approached a T-intersection. He looked back to make sure I was okay, and seeing the old woman pulling to stop before her turn, decided to sprint past the intersection just to be safe. He still had the energy to do so. I did not.
We were traveling in the direction opposite her sight, and apparently the stop sign was not in her field of vision, either. She slowed, and seeing no cars coming in the direction of her choosing,
accelerated into a turn. This was a negative. Just like they said, time slowed. That was the one thing they were right about. As if power was being rerouted from my body to my brain, I continued
moving forward on auto-pilot, but my mind reacted to everything.
In the same way people scream at sporting events, hoping that somehow, just this once, someone might hear them through the television, my brain was screaming at my body that it was going to collide with a car. Then it happened.
Then the black outs began.
I'm on the hood. “Oh God.”
I'm in the air, arms and legs splayed out in front of me.“What if I die?”
I'm falling. I can see the ground coming up. I know it will hurt. “Maybe I will.”
I hit the ground. I acknowledge the pain, but I don't feel it. “Oh well.”
I wake up, wondering if I'm okay or if the afterlife is just especially disappointing. Paul is standing over me along, and the old woman is crying in the background. The woman joins Paul, and they both ask me over and over if I'm okay. “Should we call an ambulance?”
I wonder why they are asking me.
The woman asks again if I'm okay.
“Yes. I think.”
And she escapes.
Dazed, I stagger onto my feet. Some men from a nearby yard jog over to offer us some water and a ride to wherever we need to go as the old woman drives off, terrified. I clean myself off in their yard and we drive back to the school. I feel different, and I'm grasping at what I was thinking while flying through the air. I was trying desperately to recover some half-remembered dream, trying to pull it out of my skull and dissect it. I remember flashes and the feeling of weightlessness. I remember sailing.
© Copyright 2016 Jack Flagberry. All rights reserved.
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