Aug 12, 2014

Sometimes the Moment of Truth Arrives When You Least Expect It

We were running a little late and I'd had to hurry Lyra along a bit with her crisps so she's complained a little when I put her back in the Seat (with a capital S), but we got cracking up the spiral on-ramp to the pedestrian bridge and laboured up its gentle slope as it spans the Riverside Expressway and empties out onto Tank St.

The bike paths were a little inscrutable around there but before long we were making the lond arduous ascent to Roma St Parklands and I thought I could sense Lyra falling asleep in the back, which wouldn't be unusual, but there are cobbles and textures and speed bumps on the road that goes by the side of the parklands, and she murmured and stirred a little as we zipped along there before taking a little exit onto the bike path, and ascending further before the little underpass under Musgrave Road or whatever that road is an the descent down.

I thought I was doing OK on the uphill stretches until some smartarse breezed past me, his Lycra-delineated gluteus maximus waving a cheery farewell to me as it receded contempuously uphill. I waved to his face when I passed him back a couple of minutes later, as he tidied away some plastic temporary fence detritus from the path, and then we were on the downhill stretch, coasting down there at a gentle clip.

As the slope leveled out there was a figure on the path ahead, loose clothing, Stone Roses style hat, ambling or dancing, arms outstretched. I pinged my bell, he was oblivious. I pinged it again, he just danced.

I swerved around him but there was no path to swerve into and I looked at my wheel as it found the groove on the edge of the path and the rest of the bike was going and I had to get back onto the path and I corrected the handlebars and the world congealed around me like cold celluloid and vision went there was only sound the sound of spinning wheels and skidding wheels and silence and then the crash of plastic and metal and spokes and pedals that bikes make when they land and the grunt you make when you're running too fast and fall headlong and the disbelief not even enough time to frame a proper swear word to try to come to terms with what's happening and oh the pain pain like I can't remember ever before

I'm lying on my back, my rucksack beneath me, the trees above me, trying to yell at the sky, incoherently gasping in fact. My chest is crushed. I can't really make sense of it. Behind me, no ahead of me, in the direction we came from, Lyra is screaming; what just happened. Will Mr Stone Roses come back? Here he is.

"Are you like OK mate?"

Gasp. Ambu. Gasp. Lance.

"Do you, like, want a beer?"

Surely, surely this must be a dream.

A blur: a voice that makes sense arrives. Asks me the right questions. I'm reassured to discover that I do know my name and that I do know the day of the week, which makes a nice change. A cyclist stops and tells me he'll take care of my bike. Check. I try to sit up and something cracks. Broken collarbone then. Check. My ribs are agony and I can't really breathe but I hope they are just bruised. Someone has checked Lyra and she has a grazed arm, it looks sore, but she's quiet in the arms of a Rastafarian passerby. I call Nicole to get Eloise arranged for.

The sense of abject panic is starting to receded. Paramedics arrive courtesy of my sensible voice whose name is Tom and who is a medical student, and to whom I am eternally grateful. I look up at the trees, they are swaying in the breeze. I await the legendary effects of the morphine. Things start to happen. I ask Tom to check my camera, take a few pictures. I am told that I will pleased to know that my camera is undamaged, so /I am pleased. I am rolled it hurts and slip it hurts onto a stretcher. My sense of humour begins to return in gasps and stutters.

All is not lost, maybe.

1 comment:

  1. It's sad to hear about your crash. Pedestrians are very unpredictable - especially when they have their earphones in. I hope you both recover quickly, and that it's not too long before you're back on the bike.