Screams and shouts of people in pain echo around the room, occasionally interrupted by an announcement over the tannoy. Unable to bear it any longer, I spring up from my hard plastic chair and, with my head down, power my way through the maze of waiting rooms. Finally finding the revolving doors, I burst through them. I'm thrust into shockingly cold air, which finds its way through every gap of my clothing until I'm left shivering to my core.
I roughly place my hand onto the wall, and my nails dig into the shoddy brickwork. My other hand rubs my chest, which feels like it might implode at any minute, and I try to calm my breathing down. Once I'm no longer panting like a boiling Labrador, I slide myself down the wall until I land flat on my arse.
I must look like a crazy person. My thick brown hair is sticking out in all directions, and I have the complexion of a dying vampire. I probably look like I'm on drugs; my eyes are as large as saucers and it doesn't help that they're darting around like a paranoid rabbit. My eye "bags" are more like suitcases and I haven't showered in two days.
As my bum slowly freezes into the snow, I attempt to make sense of the events of the past 24 hours.
It had started like every Tuesday does, with the realisation that I have the day off from work. After a quick celebration in the kitchen while making myself a cup of tea, I snuggled back into bed and pulled out my latest WIP, Polly Jean by MJ Kim. With spring well on its way, I was using a zesty lime coloured yarn, which never fails to cheer me up. I knitted away on the foot for a couple of hours, while listening to the Stitched Together Podcast.
At about 10am, I got a phone call from my Mum. She sounded really panicked, and said that my there was an emergency, and I needed to get to her house as soon as possible. She refused to give me any more details, so I was freaking out on the inside as a torrent of awful situations flooded my mind. Getting dressed in such a panicked manner was difficult to say the least, I managed to get myself tangled in my jeans, spun around and then fell flat on my face. I lay there for a minute to catch my breath, and make a mental note to Vax the carpets at some stage.
Grabbing my large handbag, I ran around stuffing things inside it that might be needed in this vague emergency. Make-up and knitting were a priority, of course, as well as keys and a banana.
Just before running out the door, it struck me that I hadn't fed the dogs yet, so with my panic rising, and to the dog's delight, I just poured a mountain of biscuit in the middle of the kitchen floor.
Bursting through my front door, I slipped and slid down my garden path, trying to walk as fast as I could without incurring my own emergency. Five minutes after the phone call from Mum, I was in my small Ford Ka, speeding off towards her house, which was about 20 minutes away, as she lived on the other side of the Tamar River.
I zoomed down the dual carriage way, music blaring so I could concentrate on that rather than the fact my Mother's house might be on fire, flooded, or they might be held at gunpoint by some crazed Cornish recluse. Finally, reaching the Plymouth Toll Bridge, I flung my £1.50 at the rather surprised Toll Collecter who had the sense to raise the bar before I rammed it down myself.
It was when I was on the bridge that the trouble really started. Towards the end of the bridge I could see a queue beginning to form but despite this, I still had my foot down trying to get to my family as quick as possible.
A lot of people explain car accidents as happening in slow motion, and that is exactly what happened. Once I reached the middle of the bridge a small blue car, two cars in front of me, braked suddenly, skidding across the lanes, finding himself on the other side of the traffic. This was when the slow motion kicked in. Stomping my feet on the brakes, I swerved into the car in front who had done the same, creating a domino effect behind me.
As the air bags deployed, I closed my eyes, my last thought being of my Mum.
I drifted in and out of conciousness for the next couple of hours. I became aware of firefighters cutting me out of my car, who reasured me that I was going to be okay. My next memory was of having my eyelids pulled open by a young Dr, who, while shouting to wake me up, shone a bright light in my eye. I proceeded to sob for my Mother as they tried to restrain me from jumping off the geurney. My head flew back and I was once again thrown into darkness.
I woke up to the beat of my heart monitor a few hours later. Feeling a prescence in the room, I opened my eyes to find my Dr scanning over my notes. She explained to me that I suffered a concussion, whiplash and am covered in huge bruises. Other than that, she said I was incredibly lucky, and would be able to go home in a few hours.
I was given my handbag, and immediatly pulled out my knitting to work on my socks. It wasn't until I was discharged that I remembered about my Mum and her emergency.
So here I am now, outside Derriford Hospital, frozen in the snow. Pulling my phone out, I find many missed calls and text messages from my Mum. I click 'reurn call', and as I do so as I hear my name being called.
"Oh Charly, what on earth has happened to you?! Are you OK?!" she asks as she flings her arms around me.
"I was in a bad car accident, but I'm OK. I'm incredibly lucky." I reply, nussling my head into her shoulder.
"No, oh no, this is all my fault. I should have just told you that I had a surprise for you, I'm so, so sorry." She says through heavy tears.
So we stand there, embraced, under the snowfall. Happy to be safe in each other's arms.