The Accident

They told her she had been admitted 2 months ago, at the start of summer. She wouldn’t have otherwise known, and the climate controlled 21 degrees they maintained in the room, which she found to be too cold, didn’t give away the season that beckoned through the window across from her bed. The nurses recommended that she flip through the pages of the album, intended to trigger her memory. Prodding the cold scrambled egg that lay curdled on the plastic plate that she balanced on her lap, Mel looked at the photos. They did trigger her memory. In fact, they had done so days earlier, but she hadn’t let on. She looked on at the little girl she once was, sitting amongst a class of twenty or so other students, their toothy smiles and eagerness to say “cheese” as the photographer captured their first year at school. There was one with her favourite green corduroy trousers and the purple my little pony t-shirt she wore till the image had long faded, the photo simply showing the lettering. She didn’t smile in that photo nor a lot of the photos in the years that were to follow. Flipping to the back of the album, she pulled out the newspaper clippings, all telling of the day of the accident, which she still didn’t remember. She couldn’t connect what was reported with being her experience. Apparently she’d been crossing the road just outside of Central Station. It was a zebra crossing, so it was her right of way. It was early on a Sunday morning and the car had come careening around the corner, knocked her over and sped on, the driver leaving her for dead. A call had been made for anyone with information to come forward, but no one had, despite the money on offer as reward. Her memory – of everything but the accident, had brought with it the anxieties of her past. For the four days of no memory since coming out of the coma, she’d felt at peace. There was no past, there was no concept of desires she held for the future. She was just absorbed with piecing together who she was. Visitors came and went and had to announce their role in her life – mother, father, sister, neighbour, and colleagues. They left flowers and fruit and lingered longer than she’d have liked, with smiles plastered on their faces, as though the wider they smiled, the more recognisable they’d become. She enjoyed when visiting hours were over. It was then, on the fourth day, once she was alone again, that she peeled the skin of a mandarin left for her on the bedside table. Its sweet scent, and the gentle spritz of its juice landing on her face as she peeled it conjoured an image of a house, with its white washed walls and children playing in the garden, a summer time long ago. She remembered the day, it was hot, her and her friends ran under the sprinkler while marveling at the rainbow they could see through the spray. A voice could be heard calling them in for lunch. It was the woman who’d visited earlier – her mother. She remembered! It was exciting, she wanted to tell someone, anyone, but it was nurse change over time and they had been slow to respond to the call of her buzzer. In the time between the beginnings of her memory returning and the arrival of a nurse, she felt a daunting sense of not wanting to return to the life she’d forgotten. It would be easier, she reasoned, to forget. To forget the remains of what had happened that summer and the years since. It was the chance for a clean slate. When the nurse arrived, asking what the matter was, she’d replied “Oh, nothing, I pressed the buzzer by accident.”


Perhaps subconsciously, this has turned into a combination of the last two Daily Post writing challenges.  Initially, I had intended to use 5 nouns as my prompt (money, egg, station, summer, zebra), as per the Ray Bradbury Noun List Twist, but having seen this week’s challenge, somehow the theme of ‘memory’ wove its way into today’s story, although not in memoir form, and not my own memory but that of my main character’s. Nouns were from this random noun generator.

The Challenge

Anthony walked up the path to Leo’s front door, whistling as he went, as he always did, to disguise the not so happy sentiments he felt when yet again saying yes to a favour. A note was stuck on the door “Hey Ant, last minute plans to play golf with the boys. Key in the usual spot. Cheers, Leo”. Anthony neatly folded the note in as many folds as he could while focusing on his breathing. His anger was momentarily diffused with the distraction of a fact that came to him- a piece of paper cannot be folded in half more than seven times. He pocketed the note and worked his way back down along the path, all too familiar with the “usual spot” as this wasn’t the first time Leo had asked a favour and didn’t bother being home. It wasn’t the first time either that Anthony had put aside his own plans or potential plans to help out Leo, who was his cousin of sorts, being the son of his mother’s step brother’s second wife. He figured family was family. Leo’s side fence was lined with sunflowers that stood tall and proud, their yellow petals shouting a joy that seemed to mock Anthony’s demeanor. At the foot of the row of flowers was a fence post that had fallen and seemed to have been left to rot, when in fact it was placed there quite deliberately by Leo, a safeguard for drunken nights coming home and not knowing where he’d misplaced his keys, or in instances such as these, for favours to be carried out in his absence. Leo reached down to lift the post, heaving with the weight and imagining some burly lumber jack laughing at his weakness. With one hand curled around the post, he rummaged in the soil for the key, feeling a crunch as his fingers pressed against something. Using all the strength he could muster, he pushed the post aside and saw with disgust the globule of slime on his palm- the remains of a snail he had squashed. Being of weak constitution, he felt a wave rise up from his stomach and couldn’t help but revisit the as yet undigested Singapore noodles he’d had for lunch. The key glimmered in its usual spot and after wiping the vomit with his untainted hand; he grabbed the key and did what he’d always wanted to do. He placed it in his pocket, walked past the mocking sunflowers, now he too was standing tall with his resolve, and he left. Leo can get someone else to do his dirty work for him, I’m done, and with that he slammed the front gate. He didn’t make it far past the gate before the guilt set in, but this time, he let it simmer and felt for the note in his trouser pocket. I bet I can fold it more than seven times – now that he had the afternoon free, he decided that was what he’d do- try and try and try until he disproved that fact.


Write a piece using five nouns from different sources (as per WordPress’ The Daily Post writing challenge: “The Ray Bradbury Noun List Twist”) The nouns: noodle, globule, sunflower, lumber, and trousers. First 3 were suggested by my partner. The last two were from this random noun generator