2 centimeters

July 18, 2015

2 centimeters is sometimes all it takes to change your life, or not. 8:30 PM, I head down stairs, guitar in my left hand, music stand in the right hand and backpack on my back with tuner, pedals and songbook, I am going to play a gig with Simo and Faith at Atolye Kuledibi. Downstairs at the door Mr Tomcat, the lean black and white one, is hanging around.

“Psss, psss, psss”… I make with my mouth

“Miaow!” he answers and comes to meet me. He rubs himself energetically on my legs, guitar case. He’s such a cool dude.

“Gotta go baby.” I tell him as I pick up the guitar and head up towards the boulevard. I look at the street names, will I remember? Çatma Merdiven, I turn left and head up the hill. A car is coming down, the streets splits into a Y, I am not sure which way he will go, the wheels give me no indication yet, then, he goes left, a few seconds later I hear a weird bumpy sound, I turn around, he hit the speed bump a little too fast. The sound was a tin-like, hollow one, I imagine the exhaust having taken most of the hit. I go on,climb up the stairs, into the mini park, trees, shade, two guys sitting there chatting. “Slam!” my head turns quickly towards the sound: a bus driver closed the luggage compartment of the white touring bus. I walk on.

A whistle… I realize now I was very tuned in to sounds tonight… it was high pitched, flutey, somewhat screamy, and definitely wrong, there was a… like a rush. Quick reflex to see, no thinking, just turning my head very fast. What I saw… a white scooter, on its side, flying through the air, towards me. A guy tumbling, legs, arms all over the place, towards me fast, high velocity, both of them unstoppable.

NO!!! I think, I don’t want to be nailed by these projectiles, I take a quick step back out of reflex that slammed me against the metal railing that is about 4 feet high. I hear and feel my guitar case also slam on the same railing, the arm holding it stretched out. As if I moved so fast that the heavy case just flew into the railing. I have a thought for the guitar.

The scooter passes the boundary of the road and now is over the sidewalk, still coming towards me, the guy soon after hits the sidewalk too, I am pinned to the rail, trying to anticipate what to do, but it’s all happening so quick… the scooter slams on the sidewalk, keeps skidding , the guy rolls on the sidewalk, his brown arms and legs hit me, it is all so weird, I watch all of this coming, doing so little, my two hands full. The scooter hits the railing, the guy now comes to a stop in front of me.

There is a second of nothing.

He’s at my feet, I kneel down. His head raises, we stare at each other’s eyes, transfixed. His face shows shock, incomprehension, he has rashes on his forehead, some blood. We look at each other’s eyes for so long it seems. He tries to get up, I put my hands on his shoulders: “Wait.” I say in Turkish. his hair is black, short, shaved on the side, his eyes dark, I feel the fabric of the shirt under my fingers, the warmth of his shoulders, the energy of his shock. It is a very bizarre wordless intimacy. We profoundly share this disbelief, this foreigness. It is the microscopic instant before a psychological awareness, the in-betweeness found after a cause and before the effect. People start to arrive.

I don’t know what to say, “Call 911” is what pops in my head, but it’s in English, there is no such thing as 911 here, and it’s Turkey and people here don’t call emergency numbers so quickly. I look around… I am stunned. He gets up. He asks if he’s cut open, I say a little. He runs his hands on his face, looks at them to see blood. touches his body, arms, then back again his face. He asks again, “Am I open?” No, we say. Someone raised up the scooter, started to move it, and the front fender appears from in between the forks, broken. He heads for the scooter, the thing looks bent to me I wouldn’t ride it, he seems to want to ride it but he’s shaky… someone offers to get him a taxi, he doesn’t register the question. He walks to the mirror and touches his teeth, very white, nicely lined up teeth, something he is proud of it seems, he looks at himself, touches his wounds on his forehead amazed that he’s not split open. Someone asks if I have a kleenex, I spring into action look in my bag, there are maxi pads for menstruation.. I figure I should not give that… It would work well though (the things that run through my mind…) then I find the last Kleenex, alone in a pink wrapper, I think it’s been there since I went to Europe last winter. A man takes it and wipes the young man’s head with it, road rash in a circle around his skull, yeah, he wore no helmet, and only shorts and runners… no protection whatsoever. A woman comes and offers water from a pink bottle, they put water on the Kleenex and wipe his face again. I move. Someone asks me if I am OK. Yeah, yeah. I’m OK. “2 centimeters”I say. The man looks at me, concern on his face. There is nothing else I can do here. I walk on, shocked. About a 100 meters later it hits me:

“I am so fucking lucky.”

I look up at the sky and say thank you. This was a matter of centimeters and fractions of seconds. One more step forward, and one more step to the left and I would have been hit by the flying scooter. One step could have changed everything. I feel so shocked. The guy’s face, his expression stays in my mind. Both man and scooter in their fall drew a V shape trajectory and I happened to be right in the middle. In the safe spot.

“I’m so fucking lucky.” I think over and over feeling breathless.

A hollow sort of hitting noise rings behind me and I jump with fear. Every sound jars my nerves. I walk the rest of the way to the gig completely out of it. I walk in there, I see Simo putting strings on his guitar before the gig and I tell him:

I am so fucking lucky…

It took me a bit to de-stress. Then we started to play and it was crazy, fun, I forgot all about the incident. Hours later, after all the lights, music, laughter have faded out, as I walk back home passing by the spot of the accident, I thought of all of the things that take place in this world at every instant. All the love, lovers, all the violence, the pain, all the accidents and incidents, no traces of anything left for anyone to ever find out or know.

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2 Responses to “2 centimeters”

  1. Chris Percy Says:

    Holy Shit Fuckers!!!! Be careful for christ sakes. Stay off the streets. Wrap your self in bubble wrap!!! Glad your ok. love ya C


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