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.
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!