The world was upside down. At the same time, though, it didn’t seem like it was upside down. I used to think that when you were upside down, something inside you still explained calmly to you which way was up and which way was down. In most circumstances, it does. Like on the monkey bars. The blood rushing to your head also helps. But I realized that this is not always the case, like being in a rolling car. Then everything just gets confusing. All of your surroundings are in normal orientation, it’s only when you look outside that you realize the trees have been planted in the sky and someone took the ground away.
In a rolling car, you’d expect things to be happening too quickly to notice such things. But it wasn’t. Well, actually, it was until it wasn’t. Let me start from the beginning.
We were on a lonely two-lane highway. The roads were slick. Not rain slick, black ice slick. My mom was driving. We hit a patch and our car started drifting into the other lane. Usually, this would be a horrible problem, as I said, it was a lonely road. But there was a car coming, and it was way too close for comfort. Mom overcorrected and we spun off the road, flipping hardcore. We hit the ground once, the roof smashing into the ground, before we were airborne again. That’s when everything slowed down. I was going to die. I knew it. People say who suffer near death experiences always talk about weird things happening. I heard things tended to slow down, but I didn’t know that when they said slow down, they meant standstill. I also didn’t know that the whole slowing thing only happened to the things around me. I was thinking clearly and perfectly able to turn my head and look around me.
When I did, I wished I hadn’t. My mom’s short golden hair was sticking up, or is it down, mane-like. Her arms hung loosely, resting against the roof that was now smashed in enough to make me curl my head toward my chest to avoid touching it. I couldn’t see an injury, but in the few seconds that had passed since our car said adieu to the road, she was covered in lots of blood.
Maybe I was dead and that was my blood on her. I looked down at my shirt, a white blouse, of course, it was dabbed in little spots of red, but I couldn’t tell if there was any hurt.
The car was still spinning, though slowly. It landed on its wheels, bouncing a little as normal gravity resumed, and came to a rest. There would be no more spinning.
I looked at my mom. A spider web of cracks spread across the half of her window that was remaining. There was so much blood. I tried to open my door, but it wouldn’t budge. I had to get out. I kicked at it, screaming.
Someone’s face appeared looking in at me from the other side of the window. The next moment, the door was gone, as in, completely gone from the car. I wasn’t in my right mind enough to think about it. I tried to get out, but my seatbelt stopped me. I fumbled with it but was having trouble getting my fingers to work. It clicked and I was free.
The stranger was pulling me from the car. His eyes roamed over my body, looking for injuries. “I—No—Me—My mom!” I choked out. So much blood.
The stranger looked past me at my mother. “She’s gone,” he whispered hoarse.
Something about this man looked familiar. He was my age. Did he go to my high school?
The slight familiarity was all I needed. I wrapped my arms around his chest and sobbed.