I’d been flying through the air for maybe three seconds, maybe four, with the bike spinning along below me. The headlight swept in circles, a prison searchlight looking for escaped rabbits, and sparks fired when the footpeg scraped across a rock. Half motorbike, half Catherine Wheel. The engine was still going.
Then I hit the road, still moving fast. I landed on my side, and – bashing my elbow a bit as I did so – turned myself onto my front so that I could see where I was going. Mostly the camel hair coat protected me. It reached nearly to my feet, so the only damage I took, apart from the elbow I’d used to turn, was when it had flapped free of my lower legs and my shin hit a rock. After that I kept my hands and feet in the air.
Eventually I glided to a stop. The bike was a few meters behind me, smelling of petrol, the engine still running. I got onto my knees. I’d expected to be in worse shape. I stood up and walked over to the bike. Then I shrugged, pulled it upright, got on, and rode to work.
I turned up at the nurse’s station only a few minutes late, still wearing the coat. I let the nurse I was replacing think I was in uniform under the coat. Why not? It was a cold night.