Hailstones were dancing the day I wasn't meant to save your life. The grass was the fresh kind of green that comes alive sometime between the end of March and the beginning of April. The ice bounced noisily from the wide windscreen of the ambulance as we sped through country lanes, red lights and sleepy hamlets. When we stopped at the edge of the valley, overlooking endless fields of grass the air became silent. The hailstones fell silently here, but they danced among the blades.
I saw your car first, before anything else. There was a police car, a fire engine and an alarmed Farmer leaning heavily on his walking stick, breathing hard, shock. Ben shifted his pack higher up his back and whistled sharply through his teeth. 'Boy that's wrapped around that tree good and proper.' His heavy Somerset drawl elongated the vowels and I frowned. I hated the phrase, nobody wraps a car around a tree. I'd been to seven of these incidents. The tree always pierced the car, stabbing in through the bonnet, penetrating the metallic depths of the engine.
One of the firemen nodded at me to indicate it was safe to proceed. We didn't need words, for an event like this. But the policeman kneeling at the drivers window felt he needed to share a few.
'She's only lucky she didn't kill anyone.'
As I checked your pulse and cast an eye across your body clad only in a shirt and shorts he leaned in further and paled at the blood.
'Drunk.' He elaborated, drawing his head back through the broken window carefully. At the same time the smell hit me and I realised he was right. I didn't break my stride, continuing to work to stabilize you, my actions tinged only with sadness. The hail grew more persistent and hit hard against the fluorescent plastic of the policeman's coat. He kept on about alcohol abuse and I knew his muttering was a front for the horror he was seeing but I couldn't help being frustrated.
'Goddamnit shut the hell up.'
Ben had broken through the passenger door with the aid of a fireman and crawled carefully across the seat to your side. Your eyes rolled as you slipped in and out of consciousness. He leaned close to your body as he began his spiel.
'Can you tell us your name? Where are you from? What day is it.' You heard every word because your eyes flashed with anger and you pressed your lips firmly together. I held your gaze whilst we worked, because that seemed to be what you needed.
It was only when we finally had you on the stretcher and I had covered you with my jacket to protect you from the sting of ice that I heard your voice.
The policeman missed a step and slipped in the mud of the field, he glanced at me to see if I had heard you. I had, clear as a bell, but I pretended to give you the benefit of the doubt. With your legs mangled, your breathing labored and your face peppered with angry red cuts, you struggled to speak - but persisted in repeating yourself.
We slid you into the ambulance and I got in beside you, Ben was in the drivers seat starting the engine before your hand reached out and weakly enclosed my wrist.
'I wanted to die.' You said, 'I wanted to bloody well die.'