Memories. A universal aspect of the human mind. Humans tend to remember from the age of about three years old. Though usually the earliest memories seem to have no specific place in time. Rewind. I can still remember why red is my favorite color.
A video is projected on the walls of my membrane. I was four years old. Old enough to make out the memory, but still too small to ride without a car seat. It was a beautiful day. There was not a single cloud in the sky. The sky. Clear sky. Blue sky. I remember the sun in particular. The sun seemed to lounge in the sky waiting for the day to end and the moon to take over its shift. Its light hit the windows and created a kaleidoscope effect that shimmered the same way light from a chandelier dances across a ballroom.
Pause. In waves, these memories come and go and come and go. In incoherent bits and pieces that float independently around your mind. They wait for certain triggers; sights, scents, or emotions to bubble up to the surface. Resume. Music roared throughout the inside of the car and bounced off every window. It was loud, it was fast, it was fun, and then it stopped. Pause. Everything stops. My dad’s mug of coffee freezes moments before it hits his lips. The sun’s shimmers had stopped and latched on to whatever space they could. The moment froze in a picturesque way, as if all time had stopped for a snapshot. Say cheese.
Someone pressed play. A truck had ignored the red light at the intersection and smashed into our car like a freight train. Chaos now replaces the music on the radio. Screeching tires, twisting metal, and the sound of my mother’s skull cracking against the windshield floods my eardrums.
Our projection now slows down. Time seemed to slow down as well, or cease to exist really. The melody from the radio continues to play in my head like a broken record. Skipping over and over and over. The intoxicating tune turned our crashing car into a dancing ballerina, tiptoeing across the asphalt. Melting in the summer heat.
The sun continues to rest in the sky quietly watching like you and me. Slowly, the ringing in my ears comes to a mute and the overwhelming noise of silence snaps me back to reality. My eyes open. I was still in my car seat. The interior of the car had taken on the haziness of a dream but the destruction of a nightmare. The sun’s crystalline light was now just a quiet glow floating throughout the remnants of the car. The front of the car was desolate. Empty. Silent. My mom must have been outside with the ambulance waiting to find out that she soon would require 100 stitches in her skull. I can only assume my dad was by her side.
I remained in the backseat of the car alone. It could have been five minutes but with being trapped in the carseat, it felt like eternity. Stuck in limbo, I sat and I waited and I watched. I watched the dust and debris float through the finite rays of light. I watched the check engine light blink on and off and on and off again before it stopped all together. I watched through the shattered windshield as curious onlookers ,paramedics, and my dad frantically paced back and forth. I watched the light above me flicker and illuminate the bloodstains on the seats.
Pause. The red bloodstains. The red. Red. Red like the light the truck ran. Red like the check engine light on the dashboard. Red like my favorite toy truck. Red like a memory. Red like the way love feels. Red like Mars. Red like you. Red like me. Red like red. I’ve never seen any other color.