Michaela Merz

Saturday night in the A&E department

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Freedom of movement. The smell of the forest. Caress of the wind. The slight tension of the muscles. The exhausting climb of the mountain. I drive through the forest with my mind free and feel very well. It is a liberating, generous feeling of getting lost in time. I am less than 15 minutes away from my home. There is only one downhill route and then I am home. Slightly exhausted and very satisfied.

On the last few metres, almost at home, I see a parked car on the street with all doors open and next to it two small children, hardly older than three years. No adult can be seen. I break as good as I can but one of the children runs directly in front of my bike. I pull my bike to the side, push the break as hard as possible and fly over the handle bar. I land hard on my knees, stomach, chest, hands, chin and mouth.

I feel a strong pain and everything goes black for a moment. The entire body is burning and the head spinning. Nothing happened to the child. I take up my bike but my entire body hurts. With effort I drag myself home. I clean my extensive abrasions a bit from the small stones, which had found their way under my skin and lie down in order to rest. But the pain in the left hand increases and I can hardly touch or hold anything. Gradually the pain grows overwhelming at the smallest movement. It looks as if it is more than just a strain.

At 11pm on Saturday night the accident and emergency department is busy. And probably nowhere else life is as close as here. Policemen come and go, one can hear countless languages, and one hears the individual stories because there is no privacy. What one does most is waiting. I realise that the drunken ones have a distinct advantage because they can sleep on their stretcher between the examinations. Shortly after 4 am a nurse comes and asks why I do not sleep. Is she serious about her question? How can one sleep on a loud transit station at full light and in pain?

Now I know that my arm is broken. Obviously my guardian angel compensated its countless overtime hours on that Saturday. However the guardian angel of the unknown child took care well and that is good.

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