It was at that moment that the concept, the essence, the idea of the physical phenomenon known as my face began to submerge under the waves of pain, ripples flowing in reverse toward the impact of the pebble, the balled mass of flesh and bone with a torso behind it to lend the weight of the universe to the duty of teaching me a lesson over the bridge of my nose. Collapsing inward like black holes and galaxies, a universe of stars born in the breadth of an instant, dying in a lifetime of blood. The blow of dust and electricity in my head. Starch and irons and forks in power outlets. Lessons.
“Hey man, lemme talk at you.”
“That’s not cool what you did to my little cousin yesterday.”
“That wasn’t me, that was my friend. I can talk to him if you want.”
“No, I’ll talk to him.” Objects collide. Fist to face. Face to street. Street to foot. Sequence.
Kid in street, arms waving in the path. “Hey man, gimme your bike!”
Friend pulls lock and chain from the pouch on his top bar. Holds it up.
“A’ight, that’s cool. I don’t want your bike.” Kid moves to the side.
We ride on.
Slits closing, looking through red, trying to find frames, lenses, in street. Kid finds them, says his cousin was wrong. Helps me up, walks me home. Chipped tooth. Tears and blood, salt and iron. Bible in hand. No church tonight.
Contusion. Emergency doctor prescribed rest and fluids, ice packs, pain relievers. Officer on duty took information. Charges. The cousin, a weekend in jail. Me, years in fear. Chain. Sequence. Order. Truth happens fast; we all learn at some point. Best you can do is move out of the way fast enough.