I remember the bike crash. Pedalling hard, going too fast, no helmet because helmets were for geeks, careering through a trail that descended and wound through trees. I took a jump completely wrong, the rear wheel kicking out in mid-air. Somehow I avoided hitting the heavy oaks but clipped a little silver birch, sending me into a spin. Like those seeds with wings, I helicoptered off the path and landed someway further down the hill; the dull ache of my landing followed by the sharp pain of the bike landing on me, pouncing on my wriggling torso like a tiger escaping from a zoo.
I woke up staring at little beams of light through the green canopy. I could taste soil and iron; blood dribbled from my nose into my open mouth as I lay propped against a rotten stump. Standing up, covered in forest, I left the wreckage behind and made my way back to the trail and out of the woods.
Still high up, the town swept below me like an outgoing tide, lapping against a green beach. I climbed up the ridge where the wind blasted over the top, blowing the mud and red mucus from my face. A woman sat on a bench, alone, holding a bunch of flowers.
I didn’t want to approach in this state, but she got up and walked over to me. Solemnly, she placed the flowers at my feet, crying. Trying to embrace her, I realised I couldn’t use my arms.