Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mere Seconds

This is fiction.

It happens in less than seconds.

This, he realises, is what it feels like to travel inside an ambulance car. Quite probably, the majority of people will never know, for their whole lives, what it is like to travel inside an ambulance car. In this little universe, neatly packed with things to save lives, rescue, cure and prolong for that special stretch of time until the hospital. This is how it feels like; in the middle of traffic but outside the rules, zipping along on the trams’ tracks with sirens and with speed.

Outside, the life of reality is zipping by fast and far away. Like another reality, it is played back with muted sound on the screens of the windows. There are people and their stories, cars and bikes, even birds and a few dogs. Nothing of this relates to the insides of an ambulance car shooting by at full speed. And yet, all of this is reality, and all of this happens in beautiful synchronisation.

A small woman, nearing sixty, with greyish brown hair that hangs in flat, tired waves from her head, crosses a small side street and approaches the entrance of a nightclub. She carries two burlap bags with her left hand, and inside the bar everything is dark and silent. Upon reaching the corner house’s door, she pulls out an enormous bunch of keys and unlocks it.

The city is grey and so are the remains of snow, remnants of white now shrunken together in corners and around lamppost. A grey sky above a grey ground, framed with houses in dark and light shades of grey and the air itself in hazy same. One late February day, when winter seems to wane but spring is still a long wait away. And on this one day, in this weather, an ambulance car shoots through the streets, the lanes and boulevards, until it reaches a bridge, long a wide, stretching over the massive river parting the city. With an air of remoteness and farewell, like leaving a place very dear to the heart, the car moves over the bridge, the city’s outlines in the hazy air on both banks and it is with the insignificant movement from one side to the other - crossing the river – that he waves a motionless goodbye to his beloved city and his beloved life, crossing over to that other bank of the river; beyond.

It happens in less than seconds.

Rushing along with the traffic and for one little moment caught by the smallest detail of that large painting we call “now”, his front wheel hits the car’s rear and the force of gravity, urging him onwards, lifts him swiftly and carries his body far above the busy road and the many heads and the pedestrian buzz until he, as if gazing backwards with a fish-eye lens at the whole scene, crashes through the shop window and falls unconscious.