Time Stops

For a moment everything is still and that moment seems to stretch into infinity.

My mind backs away into a swarm of memories that dart like fish through the ocean. I see myself as a child, happy and oblivious of the ways of the world, content to sit in the garden and play with my toy cars; my days at school and my simple joy at solving a maths puzzle that no one else in the class could get; my first kiss.

I see the sunlight glinting off the glass as it shatters, caught in that long moment of time, frozen into beams of light that remind me of icicles in winter, when it was cold and still snowed. Days that now seem a long time ago.

The sounds of tearing metal and shattering glass are also frozen, become a low buzz that rests in the back of my mind. Time has made it less horrible, removed the sting and pain of them, reduced them to nothing more than the drone of a fly.

The world is upside-down, spun around, out of joint with normality. I see the sky above and to my left, the road mirroring it. Lines of red, luminous in the daylight, are caught in the moment; time has made them strands of a web.

The digital display tells me that the time is 15:02, the blinking LED frozen mid-way, looking faded and insubstantial. I was almost home. Another five minutes and I would have been in the arms of my girlfriend, the kettle on and a cup of tea warming my hands.

Out of the broken windscreen I see others frozen in time: a van with a crumpled end, the rear rippling in the aftershock; a child looking on from the pavement, eyes wide and mouth agape; droplets of oil caught like miniature black holes penetrating the world; a car, too close, hanging in the air.

The sands of time run out and the clock flicks to 15:03.

With a deafening crunch the car slams into the road, on its roof, the sounds of the crash like a series of gunshots. Glass flies everywhere, and the thin red lines of my blood splatter the dashboard.

The other car bounces off the side of the road and comes to a halt mere feet from the watching child. The van skids to a stop, blocking the rest of the road.

My car stops spinning.

Time moves on.

Time Stops

Simon Forster

Ruislip, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

A moment in time…

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