He knew that much because he’d just glanced at his watch as the walk sign changed and he stepped into the crosswalk. He’d only taken two steps, before his attention was pulled to his left, and the grill of the oncoming SUV. The driver was looking at a phone, and clearly hadn’t noticed either the red light or him.
Adrenaline peaked, turning the next mom ^h stretching the next moments indefinitely to the horizon, like a series of recursive images stretched …needs work…. The driver finally spotted him, looking up with a start, and potentially hitting the brakes, but it was too late. The bumper made contact first, bending his knee in an entirely unnatural way. Pain flared as bone shattered, ligaments tore, and tendons struggled to hold on. An eternity later, the hood made contact with his chest, knocking air from his lungs, cracking ribs, and …. With the force of impact from the hood, his neck whipped forward, and his head slammed against the sheet metal.
With the concussive force, normally well-organized neurons sloshed inside his fractured skull cavity, pulling neighbors apart, and rearranging electrical pathways that had been in place for decades. These new arrangements short-circuited any number of storage and transmission pathways and with a flash of white in his vision,
Jim (go back and change the name) was at his 7th birthday party^WWW parents dining room table in the house he grew up in. A throng of children sat around the table from him. Goofy pointed hats on the heads of his gathered friends, his mother carrying a cake as the crowd belted out a terrible rendition of “happy birthday”. As she sat the tray down in front of him to make a wish, he saw that it was in the shape of Optimus Prime. His eyes widened and he looked up at his mom with glee in his face. She smiled back and said “happy birthday little man”
Jim was standing in a field, hot sun warm through his long sleeved jersey. He anxiously shifted his weight from foot to foot as the pitcher checked third base, wound up, and threw. [run by sign with the name of a highschool on it]
Now thinking about these in hindsight, they shouldn’t be chronologicaly, they should bounce back and forth, to lend credence to the “eternal perception” angle I hit at the end.
Jim was sitting in a leather chair, across a sparsely occuped glass desk, the man in the suit was handing him a manilla envelope. Jim reach out and took it, flipping ot the first page. At the top of the page, his name was written, along with a dollar amount that took him a second to take in. Along the right hand margin [probably wnat to revisit this with better details on the cover letter here.] it read “Director of
Jim was in a room, couldn’t have been much bigger than about 10’x15’ – the girl in the party dress was looking around at all the posters he and his, (blessedly asbsent at the moment) roommate had up. His heart was racing as he closed the door behind him[awk]. He’d never brought a girl back to his dorm room before, and he was nervous. [do we want awkward small talk here]? she came to his desk, and picked up a framed picture and smiled. “Is this you with your mom?” She turned the photo toward him. He was in a baseball uniform and a bat slung casually over his shoulder. He was grinning ear to ear, and his proud mother had one arm around him. “Yeah, that was after one of my games in highschool” trying not to be too braggy, he left out that he’d landed the winning rbis. “That’s cute – you’re cute” she said, somehow simulteneously setting the frame down and crossing the distance to him. she put both hands on his chest and came in close. he tentatively put one hand on her hip, and she tilted her head and brought her lips to the corner of his mouth. He put his other hand on the back of her neck, and angled to kiss her full on.
Jim was behind the wheel of the family’s ancient Ford Taurus – man, I just can’t get excited about this car one. fuck it.
Jim … I guess they don’t all have to be long, do they? actually probably better if some are short. Jim was on a trail, the dry, hot smell of pine needles and late summer pungent in his nostrils. Just ahead, the final switchback of the packed earth trail turned and disappeared behind a large slab of granite. rounding the corner, suddenly the full view of the rockies came into view… for miles in every direction, craggy peaks prodded whispy clouds, beneath a crystal blue sky.
Jim was standing in front of a grill, hot embers making the row of sausages sizzle and ilicit beads of sweat under his shirt, so much hotter they were than the sun shining on his back. “Daddy, grandma, watch this!” came a young cry from the direction of th epool. Jim’s son jumped of the edge, spinning 180 and landing knees first in the water. Jim’s wife walked up beside him, a pair of plates, and a new round of sausages for the grill. “that kid just can’t get enough of your attention, can he. it’s cute” [could be interesting to thread these together ‘before & after’ style to make a reason for the ordering.]
– child being born? –
These scenes played out, from Jim’s perspective, infinitely, as his mind and body began to shut down. he might have thought – wow, so the life-before-your-eyes thing is true… but it’s also infinite… it’s actually the ‘afterlife’ as well. The eternal is living over and over, forever, as far as your mind can tell at that point, the important moments of your life – and whether this tunnel is filled with happy memories or agonizing ones is determined by how you lived. Maybe there is something to his heaven and hell thing after all.
Ending is pretty on-the-nose, will have to rework to perhaps hint at all that without actually saying as much of it. Put the mom in all of them, in some capacity. Either a phone call or a photo or whatever.