It’s almost true what they say about the moment you know you’re about to die. That moment when the world stops and your life flashes in front of your eyes.
I’m stuck here, at the second when the car started to roll. After the cobweb of shattered glass appeared on the windscreen, but before gravity starts to take control. The junk on the dashboard’s still there. The smoke from what has turned out to be my final cigarette is still curling toward the roof. This is the second when my unconscious mind realises what is about to happen, and floods my blood with adrenaline, dopamine, or whatever it is that’s burning every synapse in my brain, one by one.
That’s what causes the flashbacks. Each memory flickering briefly as it disappears forever. Since I can appreciate all of this, I take it that it wasn’t any part of me that cracked the windscreen, so I can call my self unlucky that I can see all that was, once more.
I say unlucky, because, well, exactly what lurks in your past that you’d rather forget?
I caught on to this understanding too late, when it became apparent that my failures and moments of crippling shame outweigh anything I would, ultimately, be proud of.
Sure, there's good stuff in there: its not everyday you get to rewatch a TV show from your childhood, meet your first love again, or any one of a host of thousand perfect moments, frozen somewhere in your hind brain, just above the spine - snapping, ouch - for when it’s the last time you’ll get to visit them.
Shame, then, that that’s not all that’s been stashed away.
Very handily, to provide a counterbalance, and ensure that you don’t leave this plane of existence feeling like it was all a blast and you’d basically been a good person, the bad stuff’s been kept too.
Thus, it comes as something of a relief, when the flashing life ends. I know that I won’t have to go through it again. With that sudden purge of history, the only thing left to be processed by an overcooked mind, is the inside of the car.