Back To Normal?

Entry by: quietmandave

30th August 2017
There had been people taking photos, videos, climbing hills to find reception for their phones. He had gone back into the twisted carriage once, before the emergency services arrived, and pulled out a child whom he knew had survived. But Robert had denied he had done this and his involvement was never recorded. Now, he just wanted everything to return to normal.

'Weren't you close to that train wreck outside Bordeaux?' a work colleague asked on Robert's first day back. 'Thought you'd have marked yourself safe on Facebook if you were, so I suppose you were nowhere near. Just shows.'
Yes, it just shows. One minute you're looking ahead to retirement six years ahead, the next your life flashes before you. Or that's what he assumed. It all happened so quickly. He couldn't quite remember the noise, nor the smell of the brakes that everyone had talked about. Only the painful impact of his shoulder on a blunt corner and then his back on the floor.
'I suppose I could easily have been,' replied Robert vaguely.
'Thin line between life and death,' said his colleague absent-mindedly.
That's what troubled Robert. Exactly how thin was this line? At the moment of impact his body must have been launched in such a direction to cause him minimum harm. what was the chance? A random path that ended in life not injury or death. The child (he forgets already if it was a boy or girl) was only alive because he pulled them out to be amongst the first to receive attention.
'Back to normal then?'
'Yes,' replied Robert unconvincingly.
'What a story though, if you had been there. You'd have been the centre of attention for weeks. As it is I'll give you three days and I bet you'll be back to normal.'

But of course the memory hadn't gone, and it never would. Try as he might, it wasn't the images that were fused behind his eyes, but the road that lay ahead, stretching into the distance. It all looked very different now.