First, I crashed my bike into a tunnel, breaking my shoulder and puncturing a lung. Then came the subsequent, harsher collision: the one with reality. I’m simply too old for this.
In the immediate aftermath, the wall I hit acted as a kickstand and propped me up. I felt curiously freeze-framed, as if someone had hit the pause button. I was dazed and in shock and fighting a really strong urge to vomit, but two thoughts kept me company:
The ‘screwed’ conclusion is obvious, but Christopher Reeve needs explanation. He was Superman, remember? More to the point, he was paralyzed in a horseback riding accident and spent the rest of his life as a bedridden invalid — a fate I couldn’t dismiss given the circumstances. It was hard to breathe; one arm and shoulder were useless; the slightest movement was agony and made my stomach lurch.
Oh, how I wished for those fateful seconds back. I wanted a redo, a chance to maybe walk the bike down the incline instead of careening wildly into a sharp turn. And I knew full well how futile and unavailing my wish was. Only Christopher Reeve, I believed, could understand the cold, hollow fear in my heart. That kind of crazy shit races through my head when I’m scared and hurt, which is too goddamn often.
However, since I refuse to be afraid, I intend to get back on my bike in the next few weeks and go for a spin. Maybe many times before cold and snow make it even more ill-advised. Then I’ll use the winter months to reevaluate, because biking isn’t meant to be a contact sport. So perhaps I should investigate other possibilities. Yoga is good, but you need balance and patience. Badminton, if it didn’t require a racket. Knitting, I guess, minus the needles.
Well, something that isn’t life threatening, anyway.