Probably not for the faint of heart. Here is everything exactly as I remember it from Friday afternoon.

“Well I had to phone her friend to state my case and said…”

I’m coming around the curve from US-23 south to M-14 east/US-23 south. Everyone’s driving slow because it’s just started to snow, and the roads are freezing up pretty fast. I’m on my way home, and in 20 minutes I anticipate buying a pint of bourbon and heading home to relax before heading out to a party or something. There is a pickup towing a sedan to my right. I am in the fast lane going 35.

“…and said, she’s lost control again…”

I hit a patch of black ice. I know the tires on the Impala probably need to be changed, so this sliding around is no surprise. I right the car, but just as I do, I hit another patch of black ice.

“…and she showed up all the errors and mistakes…”

I try my best not to slide into the pickup in the right lane. Miraculously I avoid a collision. Instead, the next thing I see is the underbrush in the median. Shit.

“…and said, I’ve lost control again…”

I can feel the car lifting up underneath me. I think to myself, “this is going to hurt in the morning.” Somehow I manage to tame my instincts and let go of the wheel. I relax.

“…but she expressed herself in many different ways…”

I sense that I’m upside-down. It’s hard to say. There are objects everywhere. I still hear Ian Curtis singing on the car radio. How ironic, I think to myself. What an odd soundtrack for a disaster.

“…until she lost control again…”

Now I’m rightside up. I think. Maybe I’m already upside-down for the second time. It’s still hard to say. The only thing I can see is the shattered windshield in front of me. There’s so much adrenalin pumping through my system that I can’t feel any pain. Hell, I can’t feel anything except for the momentum of the car. I’m flipping again. I must have sighed at this point.

“…and walked upon the edge of no escape…”

I end up upside-down again. I’m dangling from my seatbelt, but the roof of the car — really, the ground now, I guess — isn’t so far from my head. There is blood on the shattered windshield that is white like broken glass is white and white because there is snow all around. I breathe in deeply. I’m alive.

“…and laughed, I’ve lost control again…”

I release the seatbelt buckle. I slide down, lie on the windshield. There is just enough crawl space for me to curl up. It’s already cold in the car. The frenzy of the accident is settling down. I can’t open the passenger door, the driver’s side door is too deeply lodged in the dirt. For a moment I panic — what if nobody finds me? What if I can’t get out?

“She’s lost control again.”

I cry a little. I call Vernon. He tells me just to make sure I’m okay. We hang up. My hand is bleeding all over everything. My iPod clicks and whirrs a little bit, retreiving the next song on the album. I turn off the engine, but can’t get the keys out of the car. They’re stuck in “accessory” mode. The dissonant opening chords of the next song ring a little too true in my brain.

“To the center of the city where all roads meet, waiting for you…”

I see boots and hear tapping on the window. “You okay in there?” shouts a man. “I’m okay, I think,” I reply. There are two of them. They’re kicking at the clods of dirt around the car. I unlock the door and they pull it free.

“…to the depths of the ocean where all hopes sank, searching for you…”

“Jesus Christ,” I say. They help me to my feet. Getting my bearings, I can see where my tires caught, where I started to flip, where I slid down the embankment and came to a rest. A Mazda has spun out and come dangerously close to hitting the Impala. I wouldn’t say I’m shaking, I’d say I can feel myself shaking. I’m not embodied anymore, really.

“…I was moving through the silence without motion, waiting for you…”

“Are you hurt?” the guy asks. He’s taller than me, wearing flannel and blue jeans and work boots. He arrived in an old blue Ford pickup.

“…in a room with a window in the corner I found truth…”

“No…I mean, my neck fucking hurts. Jesus fucking Christ,” I mumble. I was surprisingly coherent I think. I cry a little bit more.

“…in the shadowplay acting out your own death, knowing no more…”

As we make our way back up to the highway, back up to his warm truck, he explains I’m the second person he’s pulled from a flipped car here this winter. I look at the car, and I can’t believe I’m still alive. The front half of the cabin looks so crushed in, it doesn’t make sense I had room to lie there. He tells me the fire department is on its way. I’ll go to the hospital, I suppose. I feel like passing out but I’m too amped on adrenalin. He leans the passenger seat back so I can lie there.

In no time, the ambulance and the fire department arrives. They brace my neck, put me on the backboard, and load me in. One of the firemen brings me my iPod. “I know how pissed I’d be if someone took mine,” he says, tucking it into my hoodie pocket, “and yours is a nice one. Good taste in music, too.” I grin. “It’s surreal,” I say. The ambulance doors close and we are on our way.

Advertisements