Flash Memoir – Crash

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Not that life can’t go on without writing prompts but I was getting a little uneasy when the RemembeRED prompt didn’t turn up over the weekend, I don’t have to write it but I do like order in my universe.  Had I missed it?  Was I cracking up?  Self-induced paranoia is great fun.

Instead, they decided to spring the prompt on us this morning, a flash memoir.  Take ten minutes to respond to the prompt and then write.  Hmm, I can do that but that’s exactly what I’m not meant to be doing!  I’ve got the outpouring of words sussed and now I need to broaden and strengthen my skills, that’s right, editing.  I need to edit my work and learn how to pace ad structure it.  Well I was planning to but today that’s going out the window again and I’m back to my old tricks, courtesy of the guys over at Write on Edge.  But I promise that I have carefully ingested everyone’s amazing advice and will be putting it into practice as soon!

So here goes, a flash memoir.  Prompt: crash.

I was about six.  We were on holiday.  I probably even know what jumper I was wearing, either that red and brown one that is in virtually all the photos or my classic, the navy blue Peter Rabbit one, both handknit.

Sometimes you can see things happening in slow motion, you can see that something is about to happen and you’re powerless to stop it.

I was sitting on the front in the hire car.  Mum’s rules.  No seatbelts in the back so me and my booster seat went up front next to Dad.  Dad was driving still.  One of the last few times he did, he gave up his licence a few years later.  My brother suffocated in a safety embrace between a pillow and my mother.

The road’s were slow and poor in those days.  Not a full on mountain road, like a twisty single or barely two lane with a precipice.  But there was a curve up ahead and a drop to the left.  We were on the outside, driving on the ‘wrong’ side.

Around the curve came another car.  I don’t remember what the car looked like.  It had furniture on its roof.  Tied with fine twine, barely suited for the purpose.  We didn’t see the twine at the time, not until later.  I do remember, or maybe it’s memories of memories, the big cupboard like thing detaching from the other car’s roof and came sailing through the air.

I don’t remember the impact, perhaps it’s just as well.  It sailed all the way through our windscreen and out the back.  Glass everywhere.  Thousands and thousands of pieces of glass.  Everywhere.  It was even in our picnic bag in the boot.

We got out.  That was the first big surprise.  That old tin hire car actually didn’t kill us.  We were in convoy with friends and they couldn’t believe what had happened.  We stood on the side of the road, looking at the plain below.  People working in the fields.  Like nothing had happened.  I remember shivering.

A little later the police arrived, long before the days of mobile phones.  I remember sitting around in some dark roomed bar, the equivalent of roadside services.  There were animal heads on the walls.  I think our friends’ teenager bought one of those plastic bubbles with a toy inside.

Shock.

But the scariest thing?  None of us were hurt.  It sailed straight through the middle, between the two middle seats.  A freak accident with an even flukier trajectory.  Guy who tied his furniture on so badly got into trouble.  We went home, shaking glass off us for days to come.  I think Dad even had it in his eyes.  But no cuts.

I was disappointed that we didn’t go out for the day.  It must have been early morning.  Plans cancelled.  Everyone exceedingly grateful.  Everyone very shocked.

I’m not sure how we got home, in that car or another.  It wasn’t a great holiday for cars.  We were away a month and two cars’ brakes failed on dark, twisty, proper mountain roads and a third got smashed.  We did get the fourth back to the airport.  But that was hire cars then.

Done!  Ten minutes!

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

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36 thoughts on “Flash Memoir – Crash

  1. I feel like this is one of those times that I have to be self-indulgent and use an emoticon to express my feelings. D:

    That is amazing that no one was hurt, especially since you reflect very well in the writing the absolutely terrifying nature of what happened. Glass everywhere. Even after the fact when you explain yourself how unlikely it was. I am curious though if “shaking glass off us for days to come” is a bit of hyperbole or if it really was that bad. If so, I’ll add another D=

    • Emoticons are a convenient support sometimes. I’m not sure whether that’s a hyperbole or not, I remember my mother saying something like that later. But I also remember all those tiny, tiny pieces of glass all being in my hair and jumper and I think it took a while for it all to come out, especially from the woollens. Mind you, time for a child is on a different scale too. :)

  2. What stuck with me was the fact the thought you didn’t get to do anything that day…. only a child would think something along those lines.
    From the sound of it I think that you were very lucky!!

    • I think we all try and grasp hold of some ‘reality’ in the shock of something like this so you do want to get back to original plan, as if that would make everything alright again. Thank you. :)

  3. OH, so scary. How did we ever survive those days before mobiles? :) There’s so much in this post that links to other stories – your brother suffocating in an embrace, your father giving up driving … I look forward to reading much more.

  4. I was a little worried about the prompt too, but ended up enjoying it. This had a childlike quality to it that obviously reflects your memories and that makes it really interesting. It’s amazing no one was hurt – I love stories like this, with a happy ending!

  5. I know just what you mean about the prompt! When I saw the post yesterday that I wouldn’t know until this morning I guide of freaked out. I’m becoming dependent!

    Great post. Child perspective seems right on the mark too. It would be annoying to have your outing cancelled just for a car crash. LOL! I had to laugh at that last paragraph as well. Sometimes laughing is all you can do : )

  6. I love how even though traumatic your child memory recalls with disappointment that you didn’t go anywhere the rest of the day. Children are the epitome of resilience and you captured that well here.

  7. It is amazing that the furniture went directly through! That’s incredible! So lucky that you walked away from that…and great details in 10 minutes! I could totally picture the wobbly furniture coming around the bend.

  8. Wow. So scary, and I love that you wrote in the in-and-out-of sharp focus way of old memories. Some bits hazy, some quite clear. The twine, the cousin buying a snowglobe, the small details in this really drive home the shock.

  9. I was right with you on, “Hey, where’s the prompt?” LOL

    Loved the line about memory of memories – that happens when family remembers events so often. My kids can speak with absolute certainty about things they were WAY too young to actually remember, thanks to us talking about it, and they think they remember.

  10. LOL – I’m sorry to be laughing but that last paragraph – :) …… I’m really happy you were all spared in that crash, that there were no injuries – it must’ve reeeeaally shaken you all up though.

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