Brick walls, asphalt, pouring rain.
A plastic bag turned parachute inches out of view, fighting the rain and dragging against damp concrete. The forgotten space between buildings, blades of grass heavy with drops of water, a weed-flower poking up between cracks in the sidewalk. These are the things I notice as I float over the street, airborne.
I am flying.
My heart thuds faster and faster as I sail above the street, trying to catch my breath. I watch the rain mark its time in fleeting prisms of light. Each drop greets my face, my hair, and my skin with accented explosions, soft, slow, adagio. Adagio, like the force that sends strands of hair crawling closer to my face, that makes everything seem like it could be underwater. I exhale. The sound is wind, a howl into the deafening silence.
Street signs, headlights, skating bicycle.
I do not have the time to think about my sister, who turns seven tomorrow, or my father, whose call I still need to return. I don’t think about my boyfriend, who I’m supposed to meet at the bookstore in five minutes. When you are launched unexpectedly from the seat of your bike, when there is a car screeching to a halt behind you, when you are airborne –you do not have the time to think of all the time you will not have.
Metal, rubber, asphalt everywhere; asphalt speeding up to meet me far too fast. I am already clutching my arms around my head, bracing for impact, knowing instinctively this will not be enough but doing it anyway. My heart pounds against the walls of its doomed prison, flooding my system with desperate last-ditch adrenaline, but all I can do is chant oh shit oh shit shit shit over and over again in my head, staring at the white lettered and rainbow beads undulating around my wrist. Blue, yellow, red, F for Fiona. There’s a melody in the back of my head, a song I had been humming to myself before the car. What is the name of it?
Haley Gill is a college student majoring in English and Philosophy. She lives in Colorado for most of the year and enjoys reading and hiking.