It was not right. It was too close. They were leaning too far. The bike was too heavy for such a lean. They would touch the ground. They would come off. In the space of a second her mind had considered how much delay a service recovery and repair would add to their journey. Would they make it to a hotel in time? Perhaps it would be only minor damage – a bent gear lever, a broken mirror. Perhaps they could pick up the scraped bike, calm their adrenalin-drowned nerves, and carry on.
But then, still holding on, she was looking at the right-hand side of the bike. The front wheel and the back wheel were too close together. Something was upside down.
She came to on her right side on the road. She was breathing very fast, and couldn’t slow it down. The pieces of gravel on the road looked huge, so close to her face. Realising that she was lying in the middle of the road, Emma panicked and tried to get up. But her attempt at movement caused an avalanche of blinding pain to burst into her consciousness. She couldn’t move. Her right arm and right leg were nothing but a mess of pain. And still she could not slow her breathing. She panted, as she had in childbirth, trying to slow down her racing heart by breathing fast, shallow breaths that didn’t move her body.
As clearer consciousness crept in alongside the pain, Emma considered her situation. Her head was ok. She could see, and she could hear. She knew she was in the road and more than anything she wanted not to be. She was terrified of being hit by a car.
Peter’s face appeared above hers. He carefully opened her scratched visor. He was not wearing his helmet. He looked white as a ghost, his worried face creased with fear. “Are you alright?” he asked, rather pointlessly. “Can you get up?
Emma was surprised at the calmness of her own voice. “No. I can’t move. My head’s alright though. Don’t let anything hit me”
“Someone’s called an ambulance” Peter tried to reassure her. “They’ll be here soon. Where are the travel insurance documents?”
Emma’s mind was clearing. “In the top-box,” she said, “with the passports.”
She wondered who had called the ambulance. She wondered how time could be so weirdly distorted. She wondered where the bike was, and why she was here and not near the roundabout. She wondered why Peter kept asking her the same question over and over again. She wondered if maybe she was just being pathetic. She thought that if she put her mind to it, she would be able to roll over, and sit up, and maybe struggle to her feet. She needed to get out of the road.