One minute, you’re riding your bike down Camden’s pretty Chestnut Street, admiring the row of pristine white homes. Your gaze lingers on your friend Rob’s house, and you think about how he is getting married in two weeks, and then….
You glance down and see your front tire in a giant hole, and in less time than it takes to shout out a good swear word, you’re flipping your bike. You have one thought as you somersault through the air: I could get seriously hurt.
Welcome to my new world. Last Thursday morning my front tire stopped dead in a hole and, because I was clipped in to the pedals, I soared over the handlebars (still attached to my bike) and landed on the pavement.
On my head and shoulder.
Seriously hurt? No. A broken collarbone and separated ligament, wrenched back and slightly bruised calf. Thanks to my helmet, no concussion. Thanks to my landing on said helmet, no road rash.
Nevertheless, it hurts and I’m curtailed from real physical activity for six weeks. My mind goes to all the things that could have happened, and at night I feel the sensation of landing on that pavement, although I’d like to forget it. So fast – in a flash – with nothing that I could have done to prevent it.
I do feel lucky. Of all the bones to break, the collarbone is one of the more forgiving. I can still write, walk, talk and eat. I didn’t wreck my bike and I’m recovering pretty well.
And now I have another experience to milk for fiction writing. Because things happen in a flash — they really do — and now I know what that feels like.