The truck hit him at exactly forty-nine miles per hour.
One moment, Blake Owens was stepping off the sidewalk, crossing the street and the next he was on his back and did not know where he was.
The impact itself was never understood by him as his concussed brain failed to record the event. A flash of headlights was the only clear image he could conjure. Blake first thought, when he could again think, was that he’d tripped and maybe twisted his ankle. But his chest hurt. And his head. That didn’t make sense.
When he opened his eyes again, he was looking at a metal bar attached to the ceiling. A bag of water hung from it, swaying like in an ocean current. A dangling plastic tube ran from it to him, hitting him in the face.
“Sorry, about that,” a woman said, sliding the bag further down the bar, moving the plastic tubing from his face. She was a flurry of activity, moving around him and opening doors and cabinets he couldn’t see. Her unruly blonde hair was tied back and she wore no make-up and to Blake she looked like an angel.
Another woman, with long fingers and hazel eyes, sat next to him on his other side, scrunched in the small seat between the cabinets. She was holding his hand.
“What . . .” He wanted to ask ‘what happened’ but it felt like his mouth and throat were coated in sand. “Water?” he managed.
“Sorry, no.” the angel said. She was wearing a uniform, a white button down shirt with a silver badge on it and black cargo pants. “Hey, what’s your name?”
“Do you know what day it is, Blake?” She shined a penlight in his eyes.
“Of course, it’s . . . ” He thought it was Saturday but that didn’t seem right.
“How about what month?”
“If I were to give you six quarters how much is that?”
Blake thought for a moment, trying to ignore the throbbing in his head. “Buck fifty.”
“Can you feel this?”
“How about this?”
“I don’t know what you’re doing.” He tried moving but he was strapped down to the bed.
“Okay.” She nodded looking disappointed. He did not understand why. “Blake, do you know what happened to you?”
“Blake? Hey, stay with me. You were hit by a truck. It seems to have been going fast. We think it ran over you. You’re in an ambulance. We’re taking you to a trauma center. C’mon, open your eyes.”
“Am I going to die?”
“No one dies in the ambulance,” she smiled down at him and for a moment Blake believed her. She put two fingers to his neck and sighed deeply.