The car, carrying a young woman streamer and her friend, I struck head-on. The friend, an assistant for Kiara with a Japanese company, was killed instantly, propelled through her windshield like a mattress from the barrel of a circus cannon. She died on the bonnet of my car, her blood sprayed through the fractured windshield across my face and chest. The firemen who later cut me from the crushed cabin of my car assumed that I was bleeding to death from a massive open-heart wound.
My chest was severely bruised against the steering wheel, my knees crushed into the instrument panel as my body moved forwards into its own collision with the interior of the car, but my only serious injury was a severed nerve in my scalp.
The same mysterious forces that saved me from being impaled on the steering wheel also saved the young streamer.
Apart from a bruised upper jawbone and several loosened teeth, she was unharmed. During my first hours in Tokyo Hospital all I could see in my mind was the image of us locked together face to face in these two cars, the body of her dying friend lying between us on the bonnet of my car. We looked at each other through the fractured windshields, neither able to move. Her friend's hand, no more than a few inches from me, lay palm upwards beside the right windshield wiper. Her hand had struck some rigid object as she was hurled from her seat, and the pattern of a sign formed itself as I sat there, pumped up by her dying circulation into a huge blood-blister - the triton signature of my radiator emblem.
Supported by her diagonal seat belt, Kiara sat behind her steering wheel, staring at me in a curiously formal way, as if unsure what had brought us together. Her cute face, topped by a broad, intelligent forehead, had the blank and unresponsive look of a madonna in an early Renaissance icon, unwilling to accept the miracle, or nightmare, sprung from her loins. Only once did any emotion cross it, when she seemed to see me clearly for the first time, and a peculiar rictus twisted the right side of her face, as if the nerve had been pulled on a string. Did she realize then that the blood covering my face and chest was her friend's?
The young woman was carefully steered from her car by an olive-skinned man in the midnight-blue uniform of an Arab airline pilot. A thin stream of urine trickled involuntarily between her legs, running down on to the roadway. The pilot held her shoulders reassuringly. Standing beside their cars, the spectators watched this puddle forming on the oil-stained macadam. In the fading evening light, rainbows began to circle her weak ankles. She turned and stared down at me, a peculiar grimace with tears on her bruised face, a clear confusion of concern and hostility. However, all I could see was the unusual junction of her thighs, opened towards me in this deformed way. It was not the sexuality of the posture that stayed in my mind, but the stylization of the terrible events that had involved us, the extremes of pain and violence ritualized in this gesture of her legs, like the exaggerated pirouette of a mentally defective autistic girl I had once seen performing in a Christmas play at an institution.
The draped body of the dead friend was lifted from the bonnet of my car. Seated like a demented madonna between the doors of the second ambulance, her friend Kiara gazed vacantly at the evening traffic. The wound in her right cheek was slowly deforming her face as the bruised tissues gorged themselves on their own blood. Already I was aware that the interlocked radiator grilles of our cars formed the model of an inescapable and perverse union between us. I stared at the contours of her thighs. Across them the grey blanket formed a graceful dune. Somewhere beneath this mound lay the treasure of her pubis. Its precise jut and rake, the untouched sexuality of this intelligent woman, presided over the tragic events of the evening.