Every single fucking thing just seemed so beautiful. I was 12 years old, appropriately naive and certainly not supposed to utter such words as ‘fucking’ at my age, and hopefully didn’t. I remember, around that time, my brother and I discovered the ‘C’ word—public schooling—so mum sat us down, told us what the word meant and not to utter it within ear-shot of her or any other female for the rest of our natural lives, on pain of castration—well she might not have said that last part. I was sitting on an ageing jetty in a trawler-harbour. Not a cloud in the sky, crystal clear water, with rainbows of oil playing across its surface, and a breeze that was perfect for dispersing the summer heat, without being a nuisance. I wasn’t in love with the girl sitting next to me, swishing her delicate toes in the water, but I thought I was at the time so that’s all that matters. I was uselessly inarticulate, stumbling over and through my clichéd, pre-teen attempts at romantic conversation. She didn’t seem to care though; she had as little idea of what she was doing as I.
‘We . . . we’ll be together forever, right Mary?’ said the poor fool, somehow managing to look at her at the same time.
‘Yes Jimmy,’ she giggled, not looking up from the water but increasing the speed of her foot’s play in its sun dappled surface.
It was a beautiful still-life painting in time, and I mean that almost literally both because we barely spoke nor moved due to shyness and stupidness, and I saw her walking ‘round with another guy’s hand in hers the very next day. I still gaze at that painting sometimes, not because I’m hung-up on some chick from before I was old enough to illegally smoke cigarettes; because it’s a constant, and sobering, reminder that the firmest ground can disappear from under one’s feet in an instant.
After another firework up my right-side, then another, then another, like it was the goddamn Chinese new year, I’d managed to flop myself over the gears to the passenger seat. I actually had managed to get the radio to work. I’d imagined that ‘This is the end’ by The Doors would be playing, cynic that I was, but instead it was ‘I’m a barbie girl’ by that pop group, Aqua. So there I was, thinking about my next move out of the car to the tune of Ken propositioning Barbie into going partying. Whatever, I thought. If I could find my way out of this fucked situation, and move the right-side of my body again, ever, I’d think about partying. It probably wouldn’t be with a girl the calibre of Barbie, but I’d take what I could get just for the chance to live, much less celebrate the fact. Pain was my only companion right then. I used my functioning leg to push the ruined car door, and propelled my head into the passenger door. Ouch. I couldn’t see it, so I fumbled around for the lock near the window, lifted it, fumbled some more for the door-handle, released it, and shoved the door open with all the might I could manage with my functioning hand. The sweet smell of country air hit my nostrils like a drug as it invaded the car. ‘Don’t fence me in’ by Bing Crosby’d started up on the radio. Much more appropriate, I thought. Inspired by the song, I started flopping around in an attempt to move backward and outside—the driver’s door was out of reach at this stage and I’d nothing else to push against, really. This, along with feeble attempts at pushing with my leg against the driver’s seat and grabbing whatever surface I could with my hand, seemed to work and I eventually gave one, last, mighty push against the gear-stick and flew onto the grass beside the road. Had to lie there for a few minutes, as all the flopping and kicking had set a fire straight from the depths of Hades in my right-side. I managed to vertical myself eventually, and just sat there in the afternoon sun, sweating and patting myself on the back—with my left hand, obviously—for having escaped the car. Then I heard the horn. It was a big one, like from a truck, coming from the direction I had. I squinted a little and blocked the sun with my hand, and saw that, yes, a truck was driving towards me, blaring its horn like mad. I started frantically waving and calling, ‘Heeeeyyyyyyy! Stoooooooop!’ I yelled hoarsely, the increasing pain reminding me of the importance of this turn-of-events. I stopped waving and screaming as the truck came closer, and pulled to the side of the road. But it didn’t pull over, it kept going, and never stopped blaring its horn until it disappeared from ear-shot. I was gutted. My rational mind had just been blown out of the water. Was it a dream? What possible reason could the driver have had to not stop? A crow finally appeared from the west, and started picking at some road-kill not far from where I was slumped. I kinda empathised with the squished rabbit, or whatever it was, at that moment. I mean, I was probably not far from becoming a larger version of it anyway. I threw my head back and screamed, gutturally, at the fucked up cocktail of fear, pain and anger within me. The crow took off back towards the west. . . .