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  • It is 3pm on 27th November, 2005.

    I should be dead.

    I'm upside down, held by a seatbelt, sunglasses still perched on my hair, the passenger airbag artfully draped across the inverted dashboard. Why didn't mine open? I should be dead.

    It's 2:58pm, I'm overtaking someone as I enter the M621 at around 80mph, descending into Leeds. I'm oversteering. I'm supposed to steer into the skid, or in the opposite? I'm backwards, facing the other cars. Everything is slowing down. Now I'm rolling, through a barrier, uphill. I'm headed at that concrete bridge. I should be dead.

    I'm opening the seatbelt and landing on my head. I'm kicking through the window, crawling over glass and grass. Marvelling at my luck. I need photos, for Flickr and for glory. I should be dead.

    Like Kirk, I haven't faced death. I've cheated death. I've tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing.

    People from the other car are asking if there's anyone else inside. I put away the cameraphone. The policeman tells me people die here, often. Dad arrives, sees the wreckage and embraces me tightly, trembling.

    It is 2nd January, 2006. In the first hours of the day a young man is killed as his car leaves the road, crashing into the same grassy embankment. Later, I see flowers and pieces of the barrier I rolled through.

    It's 2:45pm. I'm on my way to mosque, for a prayer of gratitude, good things have been happening. Beginnings.

    It's 9am on 25th November, 2005. I'm hosting my first conference, they've come from all over Europe.

    It's 11am on the 26th November, I'm near Clerkenwell having chai with this girl, Nadirah, she's German, a painter. I'm getting lost in her curls… a fractal future forming.

    It's thirty years ago. Or fifteen years. Maybe six months. That same dream, again. I'm driving my family, losing control, crashing. The compound pressures of being the eldest child, the eldest grandchild, the eldest cousin. They all look to me for answers, I can't let anyone down. I'm not supposed to fail.

    It is 3pm on 27th November, 2005.
    I am alone in my car. I am alive. It's ok for me to fail, I didn't let anyone down.

    Somehow, I knew this wasn't the place I was going to die. Small margins and quantum spirits guided me to rest, with nothing more than a bruised thumbnail.

    I stole that boy's luck and bought seven more years, I hope I've used them well.


    I am born again
    In a fast german car
    I'm amazed that I survived
    An airbag saved my life
    In an interstellar burst
    I am back to save the universe
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