He thumped the car brakes. The action was a token one. The impact was to be full and comprehensive. Metal, glass and acrylic fused with skin and bone, forcefully and finally. The horrific union was interrupted only by the perforation of human organs. Wounds shortly gave way to the lamentation and gushing of blood. The thick viscous liquid disregarded the amalgam of metal and flesh, flowing freely and disdainfully in various directions, relentlessly seeking all available avenues in its escape. The pain, as is often the case, was the last thing to come. It arrived, like a corrupt dictator, with an unnecessary entourage and staggered ceremony. It had neither the courtesy nor the consideration to fixate itself in the areas of direct impact. It raced through his entire body with the speed of a bush fire in the harmattan months. The accident was complete save for the immovable, irrefutable shock that transfixes its victim. The kind of shock that causes temporary paralysis and tricks the mind into believing, for a split second, that your injuries are not severe.
This was not yet the time for remorse or for reflection. This was not the time to mentally recreate the events that led to the accident, to question what manoeuvres could have been executed differently to avoid the pedestrian and the traffic light.
This was not the time for pity and penance. It was not yet time to question the madness of drinking the cocktails of vodka, tequila, gin and that obscure punch drink yet still insisting that you had the wherewithal to drive home. This was not the time to curse the friends who should have wrestled you to the ground and ordered you a taxi.
This was not the time for regret or repentance. This was no time to start thinking about loss and the overwhelming baggage that it brings with it. It was not time to think about the two seconds it took you to partially overtake the car in front of you. Two seconds for a lifetime of guilt. A poor trade.
All those emotions are for another day as you lay in the hospital bed recovering from your wounds, praying that God give you the strength to one day recover from the mental anguish of stealing the lives of two people.
This was the time to feel scared, helpless and mortal as you remain attached to the dashboard, with the lifeless body of your best friend by your side and the other hapless victim somewhere between the car, the road and the leaning traffic light.
This was the time for realisation and revoked responsibility.