“Oh, no! Not again!” the words flashed thought my head as we tumbled through space, crystals of shattered glass raining about us like tiny rainbows before I closed my eyes in terror.
Then blackness, a sudden lurch and it was over.
I opened my eyes. I was hanging upside down, the seatbelt biting into my shoulder and stomach. How grateful I was for that pain.
I looked across at Bruce. It was his car, an old VW beetle, but I had been practicing my driving. His face was streaked with tiny rivulets of blood running into his hairline.
He was laughing.
We laughed so much the beetle began to rock, and we realised we were still in danger. Releasing our belts we fell to the roof and he helped me scramble from the car, which had lodged against a few small trees down a steep slope from the road. We scrambled shakily up the slope to the road, to seek help.
We looked up and down the road. A big fire had gone through recently, it had destroyed most of the few trees that could grow on such a steep slope. Our car had been stopped by two of the most stable. We had been lucky.
A group of us had gone away for the weekend, surveying a mountain hike for our group. Bruce’s car had run low on petrol so we had left the others to fill it up. It was a warm, sunny day, they were happy to wait for us. We told them we would bring back some icecreams for them. They even told us what they wanted.
I had only had my licence for a few weeks, the road was winding and dusty, miles from anywhere. Bruce had had the car serviced only days before, but we later found a bolt on the road: they hadn’t tightened the steering, so when I turned the wheel the final time, there had been no response. The car went straight into flight. We could have died.
We’ve all heard that notion that your life flashes before you just before you die. My friends all had different explanations for the words I’d heard. The one who claimed I had been a Jew who died at Auschwitz claimed this proved it. Others claimed it was a message from one of my past lives. Which is a nice idea, but what’s the point of a message if you don’t get the point of it?
It made no sense to me, or at least it didn’t for some time. Then someone reminded me of an incident that happened when I was home on my own. I must have been about ten. It was about midday, it must have been school holidays. I was watching an old film, with Bill Travers and Virginia Mackenna. I’m amazed that even now, decades later, I can still remember the film was called ‘the Smallest Show on Earth.’
My brother’s dog, Sandy had been dozing at my feet when suddenly he woke up, yelped and ran from the room. I watched him in surprise, then looked back at the tv in time to see it explode, the glass sparkling as it flew through the air towards me. It happened too fast for me to be scared. It was fascinating. I looked about me; debris was strewn across the room and into the hallway. Glass pieces were all over the sofa where I was sitting, but nothing in my lap, none had touched me.
Scared out of my wits, and not knowing what to do, I ran next door. The neighbours came and called a tv repairman. I don’t know why, as the tv was clearly beyond repair; it was little more than a smoking cabinet. He told us that the inside of the tv tube was at very high pressure. He kept shaking his head, marvelling at the damage, and the fact that I was untouched. Not even a scratch. He said I could have been blinded, or killed.