Yesterday, I had to break my car’s passenger window because my keys were locked inside. This was done safely, with the help of an RAC man – but the whole thing triggered bad memories…
Rain wept, shedding tears I could not, frozen, as I was, in the familiar daze of terror and foggy-mindedness.
The metallic implement – a thin bar which seemed, at first sight, too light for the job – was clenched in my right hand. Scowling sky looked down upon the scene: an orange RAC van; a short mechanic, bearded and bested by my car, unable to gain entrance after sixty long minutes and a downpour of Biblical proportions, scowled; a group of friends, fresh from filming, sheltered under a giant tree.
I lifted the weapon, struck a tentative blow to the lower right hand side of the passenger window. Hitting harder, I tried again. Nothing but the resonance of rain and a tightening of my throat.
On the third stroke, with a shattering shock, window pane disintegrated into greenish shards of glass. Tinkling fragments crunched onto the car park’s asphalt; a parabola of prisms plummeted floor-ward – and, as I found later, lodged in window frame’s deep crevices.
Friends stayed, helped, texted and messaged…
…so why was my mind cloaked so muzzily in the foggy cloth of earlier times?
Why did that needful impact of metal on glass force me backwards in time to a blindingly bright October early morning and the shunting, cracking, airbag-exploding collision, in a narrow lane, between me (with dog in boot) and a huge lorry, the force of which drove my car into the hedge? Why, in the misty mindedness that followed, did my mouth fill with the ghost of blood from a bitten tongue?
Was it the sound? Was it the failure to connect via phone? Was it the memory of the fury that attended that earlier crashing of vehicle? Was it something far more difficult to define? Was it the sense of threat that came to be associated with all such incidents and the way my mind wrapped itself in comforting fog to cope?
I did not cry. Not then. Not later. One of my friends bought tarpaulin and covered the gap. Another hugged me. Others offered help.
I, petrified on too many levels to discuss here, drove home and went into practical mode: from the time-triggered miasma of fear, I hoovered up the glass, tidied the car inside, made phone calls, the sharpness of my immediate actions contrasting painfully with the soggy and hidden marshland surrounding the lake of sorrow.
But the violence of that act, the tinkling disintegration, the invasive nature of it all, triggered a cracking, a scattering of pieces, a severance – and the mind’s need to protect by both blanketing and shutting down.
Note: on the purely practical level, my insurance will deal with the glass; no one was hurt and my friends were incredibly kind and supportive. I wrote this piece more because of what it triggered: petrifying fear which, attributable to too many ‘windows’ in my soul being forced open in the past, has left hard scars.