It was a twelve-mile trip to work, and I had only been biking for seven when I was hit. Leaving for work at nine in the morning should have spared me any problems with traffic, and it was one of those clear days in May when you can see for miles. But it turns out “traffic” is only a broad, statistical risk; there is no accounting for the individual driver. Every moving thing on wheels or on water is a potential collision, a destroyer of worlds. The regrettable part is that the whole thing was probably my fault. I listened carefully as I pulled up to the trail crossing, but I was too heavily invested in a hard-won store of momentum I had going to seriously consider stopping, and the shrouding bushes made it inconvenient to get a good look at the road. I heard nothing, incorrectly associated the peace and quiet with safety, and was consequently hit by a very quiet car.
Getting hit was actually the best part of the experience. People who all their lives fear the experience of dying will be well advised to be fatally struck by a fast car while riding a bike. The sensation was like one of suddenly having a thousand cords suddenly snap and let you go like a kite out of a hell. In fact, the most intense sensation I had by far, in the split-second after my demise, was one of bursting, uncontrollable strength and speed that had cried out for exercise since the moment of my birth. My lungs seemed unlimited and the strength of every motion I made felt ridiculously amplified. I whirled about for a bit in a sheer fury of physical elation, which lasted only for a second or two before I settled towards the ground again, standing upright with my hands on my hips, master of the world.
I think perhaps my unconcerned state of mind at the moment of impact made my experience less traumatic than one would have expected. In fact, at first I felt little real emotion at all when I saw the body on the ground, motionless and bent in an odd way. I had the attitude of a captain supervising something being done just the way it ought to have been done: the driver progressing through various stages of shock and frantic concern, the police taking down the report, the medics cleaning off the road. Such wild, capricious serenity as I then felt seems now so clean of sentiment as to be nearly inhuman; it betrayed less than the interest of a bystanding child — it was, rather, the briefly-stayed curiosity of a west wind.
Should I go with the medics, I asked myself; it seemed fitting, but I had a feeling that it would be nothing but unpleasant. Overhead, the blue sky was beginning to show rents and rifts, here and there, like clouds parting. Through them I could see space, the stars, and, much nearer than before, the round orbs of the planets in motion around the earth.