Sunday, 28 March 2010
Friday Flash Fiction #26 SLIP SLIDING AWAY
My first offering for Friday Flash Fiction - let's hope it's not my last!
Slip Sliding Away
"What do you see when you close your eyes?"
If I hear that just once more I am going to go mental! That must be six or seven times they’ve asked Pete the same question.
I know they’re just doing their job and they need to get the details correct but for crying out loud - can’t they leave the poor man alone? I’m getting fed up of hearing it - he must be going round the twist with it!
Now, if they asked me I could tell them. I can remember everything. And while I’ve been waiting I’ve been re-playing what happened over and over in my mind.
I remember the noise. It was Friday lunchtime. The streets were packed; people with shopping bags, mums with over-laden buggies and screaming, fractious kids. Office workers out for a lunchtime drink to begin the wind-down for the weekend.
And that’s how Pete and I happened to be walking along Hunter Street. He’d met me at the office and whisked me out to lunch. OK, I’d have preferred a restaurant, but there are some good pubs along there.
It was a “Please forgive me” gesture after the flaming row we’d had earlier. My fault really. I’d accused him of seeing someone else. Of course, he'd denied it. But I sometimes felt I was somehow surplus to requirements. Like he almost wanted out. We both said some pretty nasty things. But then making-up afterwards, when the fighting’s over – that’s always good!
I remember it was warmer than of late. My coat was open and flapping as we dodged around the pedestrian blockages. And I remember the feeling as Pete reached out and grabbed my sleeve as I slipped off the curb. In my mind’s eye I can picture the shock of seeing the truck veer in towards the gutter and the thud of impact as it smashed into my hip and I went flying headlong into the street.
There was a lot of shouting, the squeal of tyres and I distinctly remember hearing bleeping noises as several mobile phones were pressed into action together with a disorganized chorus of voices requesting an ambulance.
See, if they asked me I could tell them so much. Pete isn’t saying anything, really.
Shock, I expect.
Funny thing is, now I’m starting to remember something I didn’t hear. Like, for instance, he didn’t talk to me at all as we waited for the ambulance. He talked to other people standing around, I heard that. And to the paramedics when they arrived. Oh, they talked to me. Called me by my name. And there was a bit of poking and prodding.
But Pete was silent.
Except, and I know this will sound strange, I’m sure I hear him snigger. Just about the time he pulled my sleeve.
No, wait - he wasn’t pulling me back. Now I think of it, he was pulling me in front of him. And I can just remember that little push in the small of my back as I lost my balance and fell into the road……
I think I know why Pete’s not talking. When he closes his eyes he sees what I see. He knows what I now know. If only I could get this plastic tube out of my throat I’d give him a piece of my mind.
But I can’t speak.
I can’t move.
All I can do, laying here hooked up to monitors while a machine breathes for me, is replay it all in my head. And wonder if there is another woman after all……