My pace is steady, as I manipulate my bike through the bustling crowd darting past me from all directions. The honking horns, and endless chatter on cell phones, is drowned out by my earbuds blairing Gonzo, and the world disappears around me. Careful to avoid stepping on cracks, and rolling my tires over the toes of unsuspecting Rainbow wearers, I keep my head down, and continue on my way. Reaching the corner first, I find myself in the enviable position of head of the pack. It always sucks to be stuck at the back, with those in front of you dictating your pace, or worse, giving you the evil eye for accidentally hitting the heal of their shoe with my front tire, as they take a step forward. Ah, but life is good today. As my tunes fade to a close, and the world comes back to life around me, our light turns green, and the crowd pushes forward.
As I narrow my distance to the far curb, the chatter in my ears is replaced with screams of terror and screeching tires, and the world around me disappearing yet again. No sooner had the screaming in my head stopped, it started again. But this time it sounded different, more familiar, and it took only a second to realize that it was coming from me. As I start to fade out, I’m immediately jolted back by the excruciating pain in my right side, the taste of iron in my mouth, and the soft tickle of warm fingers running down the side of my face to the nape of my neck.
The screaming turned to yelling. As I hear people in the crowd calling out “Stand back, don’t touch him”, “Stop him, stop him….don’t let him leave!!!” and a woman frantically dialing 911. “We need an ambulance! A guy with a bike has been hit by a car that ran a red light, and he’s been impaled by his handle bars, there’s blood everywhere. Yes….yes….no….I told you that I don’t know, but I think he’s dying!! We’re at the corner of 14th & Oak. Hurry, please hurry, we need an ambulance!” All around me are cries of anguish, and whispers of prayers from strangers.
In the background, I can hear the wailing of sirens approaching from the distance, gradually intensifying, as does the pain. As one car approaches, I can see the flicker of blue lights through my closed eyes and the siren abruptly stops. The slamming of the car door tells me that someone official has come to my aid.
“Don’t move son, help is on the way”. At that moment, I knew that I couldn’t have moved lest strings were tied to my wrists & ankles, and someone else was controlling them. I’m sure that the officers simple statement should’ve brought me some kind of comfort, but, oddly enough, I was already comfortable. While I knew of the scene that played out around me, that the pain was still there, somewhere, I was actually at peace. And, while staring at the blue flashing hue through my closed eyelids, I watched as the color slowly faded to white…….. It was in that moment that I realized, that while life was good, death was even sweeter.
“I’ve missed you Son!”
“I’ve missed you too, Mom!”