Last night, I turned the corner into my street and saw some police cars. Oh, they’ve pulled over a hoon, I thought but then I realised there were too many cars for that and there was something in the middle of the road. As I got closer, I saw my mother standing on the corner, looking at the scene. I parked the car in the driveway and leaving the car door open, rushed over to Mum. She told me there had been an accident, a man on motorbike smashed into a car. That something I saw in the middle of the road was the motorcyclist.
She told me she was inside when she heard the two vehicles collide and she ran outside, calling Triple Zero. She yelled out to our neighbour who was already on the scene: Is there a pulse? He shook his head.
I put my arms around her as we watched the ambulance arrive. Paramedics started pumping his chest in the middle of the road. A police car sped off down the street and reappeared a few block down, parking in a way to block the street. Someone said ‘fatality’. A policeman approached Mum, asking what she saw and heard. He spoke gently and chose his words carefully.
The motorcyclist was lifted from where he had been lying on the road and onto a stretcher and as they moved him, I saw his face was covered in blood. I looked away but not before I saw a long, dark red streak on the ground beside where he had been. We could see the paramedics continue to work on him through the lit-up windows of the ambulance. A MICA car pulled up and a man got out, made his way over to the ambulance; not even a minute later, he walked away. A man across the street put his hands on his head in a daze and then doubled over. A policeman tried to comfort him, I could see him speaking but they were too far away to hear. A third man joined them and lead the upset man away.
I left in my car and returned with a bottle of whiskey, as the ambulance drove away with the lights flashing but without the siren. We retreated inside and felt a strange and odd mixture of deflation and a need to talk, to tell our version of what we saw. As we downed three medicinal whiskies, we occasionally pulled back the curtains to look at the scene outside. The S.E.S. had arrived and set up a huge generator-powered light, making the night look like an artificial daylight. A tow truck arrived and several numbered yellow markers sat beside the debris that littered the street. Later, a fireman used the high-pressure hose to clean the road, to wash away the blood. It occurred to me that I had never once thought about the road being hosed down after an accident.
As I got ready for bed, I started fretting. What was the motorcyclist’s name? How old was he? Did he have a wife, children? Parents? A sister? Whose life had been changed forever? I checked social media sites for any details but could only find a police media release that confirmed the fatality. I thought of his family and felt like I could cry but the tears didn’t come. Instead, I wrote in my journal and felt so, so sad that the man on the motorbike died. That poor nameless man who died within view of the lounge room window.
I looked out the window this morning. The road was clean and there wasn’t any sign of the action from last night – except for a man with shaved head who stood on the corner of the street, rubbing his eyes.