He was finishing up another rough day and was ready to blow off steam. The weight of the world had been resting on his shoulders for some time. In addition to a heavy work schedule, there were unpaid bills, family commitments, hungry farm animals, ageing dogs, and health issues. Any one of those things by themselves would be manageable; however as a whole they were life draining.
When 5:00 PM rolled around, he made up his mind to get out. A Honda XR 600 dirt bike would be the outlet of choice. Rolling it out of the garage he could feel the tension easing. He topped off the bike, checked the oil, and put on his protective gear.
Tearing out of the driveway towards his favorite trails, his nerves came alive. He quickly became “one with the bike”. He had owned this bike for many years. With its after-market suspension, pipe and jetted carburetors, it fit his riding style perfectly.
Approximately five miles from the house was a sandy wash where he could really open things up. The bike could do 90 plus miles an hour and he’d had it there many times. Today he felt invincible and 5th gear wide open was the rush he needed. From out of nowhere, a pack of javelinas crossed the wash. He had just enough time to lock up the brakes but could not dump speed fast enough.
He woke up sometime in the night with the taste of blood in his mouth. He was sprawled out in the wash and was having difficulty breathing. What the fuck happened was his first thought. As he was getting his bearings, he realized he could not feel anything from the waist down. He pondered the possibility of being paralyzed. Other than the difficulty breathing, he was not in too much pain, but felt sure he had broken several ribs.
He was wide awake now and it was all coming back to him. He was playing the crash over and over in his mind until the details were fresh.
He cursed himself for being who he was. Like a drug addict, he was an adrenaline junky that needed more and more to get off. He had escaped injury so many times he thought it would always be so. Going for a casual ride just did not cut it. Trying to explain the games he played while riding to most people would seem ridiculous or insane. His favorite game was to push hard on unfamiliar trails. Rounding a corner at high speed and finding a ditch or tree sent a surge of adrenaline racing through him. Pushing the limits brought out a heightened state of awareness and time and time again his body could make the needed adjustments to avoid disaster.
The night was getting cold and any hope of being discovered tonight was fading. He began to feel sorry for himself and vulnerable. What a fucking idiot, he thought. He wished he had told his wife where he planned to ride, but he was in too big a hurry to get out. Would she alert authorities to search the desert? He hoped so.
Just then a pack of coyotes began a cacophony of yips and cries not too far away. Although he was fairly sure they would not attack him, he was not certain. He was thirsty and felt his tongue swelling. The thought of his tongue being the only thing to swell from here forward somewhat amused yet depressed him. Would he ever satisfy his wife? Would any woman look at him with lust in her eyes?
Would he become a burden on the family? His mind raced for ways to compensate for his potential paralysis.
By the position of the moon, he guessed it was well after midnight. The temperature was still dropping and his teeth began to chatter. Random thoughts popped in and out of his mind. He remembered hugging his mom as a child, being comforted by her presence. Then started to panic. He remembered reading that the most common sounds on a battle field of dying men were cries for their mothers. He wanted his mom and the tears flowed freely.
He decided to write a note in the sand and got as far as “I love you” and stopped. He was comforted by the fact that he loved many people in his life and felt sure they loved him.
A nasty cough racked his body and blood drained from the corners of his mouth. All through his life he laughed at movie “death scenes”. If an animal was dying, he could cry like a baby, but a man dying? Suck it up you wussy. But alas it was happening to him and he could not “suck it up”. He coughed one more time and felt the fluid filling his throat. He was drowning in his own blood.
More panic, more random thoughts, but above all, MOM where are you?