“I’m not built for this kind of thing anymore,” I muttered, looking out the window at the face peering in.
“Shhhh.” She smiled gently. “Everything’s alright.” Her voice was silver and calm.
In a general way, I knew what had occurred.
She climbed into my overturned car, into my upside down world. Visceral fear eked out, mine, in reluctant tears. Shame mine more than fear. This woman—she touched my face and she smiled, as if there were nothing more natural under the sun to do.
I had been flipped over onto my head, which was twisted against the roof of the car’s interior and cricked drastically to the left, under my shoulder. Warmth—wet, viscous—pooled around one cheek. When the car had rolled, a sharp “something” the color of cement crashed forcefully through the driver’s side window, ramming the left side of my face. I’d tried to wedge my hands against it. I reached deep for the strength to right myself, to fend it off, but my strength was limited by the fact that I’d grown fat with time and drunkenness. And so there I was suspended upside down unable to move my legs, which were pinned beneath the dashboard. All of my weight had reasserted itself from my bull ass to my cricked head and neck. I heard more than felt the initial crack of cheekbone, the snap of surrender. The snap was my face breaking in on itself. My cheek snapped off from my eye, my teeth cracked away from my nose.
I succumbed. It was late. A conciliating stillness had followed the spinning upheaval, the scraping, the over and around of it all. Whirring. Dark. I think it was the airbag that blew me back just before everything had gone completely black.
And now this woman caressed my cheek, curled her hands beneath my head. Smiling. Smiling. The weight of my body slumped off my head to my shoulders. She completed this easily, effortlessly, and she never stopped smiling, even when—especially when—she settled her gaze in mine. There was something like love there. I knew.
“I fucked up,” I sputtered, warm liquids around my mouth.
“Everything’s okay,” I felt her say. And she repositioned her hands to where my legs were lodged and numb, and she slid my knees from under the dash. I could not feel my feet. She laid me flat and held my legs. I felt my spine straighten and felt an accompanying release. Then she reached up, pressed her palm to my stomach and looked as if she were listening to something. Her touch released me, birthed me, through my arms and legs, hands and feet, and I sat up.
Smiling. “Come now,” she said.
I took her hand, rose, stepped around the vehicle. It was like stepping outside of my own shell.
I looked back into the twisted remains, but I felt her watching and I looked to her again.
“Come,” she said once more.
We rose lightly, together, ever, ever so lightly, rising continually above the small crowd that had gathered near the scene. Viewing the tops of their heads shrink. Sound gained on the after-silence, growing fainter. In the widening lens of ascent every detail grew more distant. Sirens. The night smacked open with red lights—so distant, barely a pinhead from that height, everything in the world and outside the world.