Something strange happens when the room is quiet around me and I’m content with my thoughts. It doesn’t happen every time — only occasionally.
I’ll be sitting quietly, thinking about something, or nothing in particular, and I’ll have a vivid memory of a loud explosion, and a sensation of hitting my head, hard, against pavement. It makes my heart race and my mouth have that distinct metallic taste of fear. It’ll take a few moments to return to calmness. Nothing around me has changed, and that sensation of ringing in my ears and a violent jarring slowly fades away.
I know it’s my body remembering a concussion I sustained last summer, while riding my bike. I’d taken my new bike out for a test ride: nothing substantial, it was to be a ride just in front of the house. It was one of those few times I’d decided not to wear a helmet, since I was simply going to ride my bike once up and once down my street. It was late, I’d just returned from a long trip, and I was planning to ride the bike the next day on a circuit. So I thought I might as well try it out before riding it in the morning. Well, as accidents are wont to do, I ended up being thrown off rather violently from my bike, and landed on the road, knocking my head as I fell down. I was out for a few seconds, and awoke to the blurry image of my (then) boyfriend and a neighbour kneeling over me, asking me something. I couldn’t hear them for the loud ringing in my ears.
All I remembered of that moment leading up to the concussion was of an “oh, shit” silence, just when I knew I no longer had control of my bike and was going to fall (an almost peaceful emptiness, really). Then there was a LOUD explosion, a blinding flash of light, so bright I couldn’t see, followed by a deafening ringing. Then blackness. And then a gradual emergence from blackness, to a hazy, blurry state, but with the ringing intact. It took a few minutes for the noise to quieten so I could actually hear that my ex-boyfriend and my neighbour were asking me if I knew where I was, who I was, and was I ok?
I know there’s something about body memory, but I’d prefer mine to be chosen from a catalogue of incredibly lovely sensations, thank you very much, rather than this moment.