By Chef Clarence W Matthews
I gradually became aware that I was awake again, sadly. I enjoyed those fleeting moments of unconscious sleep where the minutes and hours slowly drift away, and then pick up speed until you are redlining it in 5th gear… then BLAM!!! Awake again. Who knows how much later. Fifteen minutes or ten hours, time used to be relative.
What I really liked about sleeping was that if I was lucky I could dream. During the time where my body simply was, my mind could weave a beautiful tapestry where I wasn’t bound by the laws of physics. I could run and jump, socialize with others and even eat food again! I miss food a lot.
When I was stuck being what I call ‘awake’ physically I could do nothing. I don’t mean that I had nothing to do but that I could not move a muscle. I wasn’t paralyzed. Even a quadriplegic can blink and move their eyes around. At least they can breathe and have a heartbeat.
Not that looking around would have done much for me. I had been in the darkness for longer than I could fathom, or maybe not, I had no way of telling time. I wore a watch but it didn’t glow in the dark, no back lit digital screen for me. I vaguely remember that at one point I thought I could hear the soft ticks of the watch as the hands made their rounds. I don’t get to hear those soft ticks any longer.
That is one thing I think I would change if I could go back. I would change lots of things if I could go back, but if anything I would have worn a digital watch that displayed the time and day of the week. If I could find one that showed the month too I would drain every penny in my checking account and take out a bank loan just to have it now.
Ideally I would change other things first. I would have worn a helmet when I got onto my motorcycle. I would have looked both ways before I pulled out in front of that oil truck. I would have also maybe gotten one of those blood donor cards for my wallet, and then the paramedics would have known what my blood type was. So yeah, mistakes were made that day, but if I couldn’t change the outcome I would have worn a different watch.
I don’t recall much after the impact. I remember a fire truck, some paramedics, but it gets fuzzy. I do clearly remember the medic telling the doctor I was a motorcyclist with no helmet involved in a side impact collision with a large vehicle. Side impact my ass. When an oil truck T-bones a bike in a 55, the truck runs your ass over. The doctor just shook his head and mumbled that us bikers were just organ donors anyway. I probably would have been one too if my insides weren’t gelatin.
There was a funeral. Somehow it was open casket and I got to see who came and who didn’t, who cried and who just looked at me and shook their head. As much as I tried though, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t blink, all I could do was just be there with some vague consciousness that I was there and what was around me.
Sadly those were the good times. Things only got worse from there. My casket was closed and I never saw light again. I heard the thud of dirt as they covered my casket and then I was completely alone with nothing but the soft rhythmic clicking of my wristwatch to keep me company. Just me, my thoughts and my wristwatch. I don’t know how long I have been down here in this hole, but I really wish I had worn a different watch.