My dad expressed in anguish,
At the TV,

He’s dead,
Said with such resignation and weariness that I immediately took notice;

I was seven years old,
And it caught my attention as much as the preceding crash must have done,
Because this became my first memory of F1;

Considering that my dad is the most unemotional of people,
Very rarely expressing any strong emotions,
(Except towards me),
In the context of time I can see what a rare occurrence this was;

Perhaps that was part of what caught my attentionβ€”
The only similar event I can remember,
Was him crying at the TV during Diana’s funeral when I was ten,
When a particular camera shot was shown,
Of a message from her children;

He might not be!
I replied,

I saw his head move!

I sensed the gravity of the situation and had looked for ways to remain hopeful,
But unfortunately, when I watched the replays years later,
I realised that the head movement was simply due to the relenting of centripetal force,
As his car had spun to a stop;

Another thing which I learned upon watching the replays,
Was the many layers of context in which that event had occurredβ€”
Just the day before, in qualifying,
Another driver had died;

(And how shocked was I to learn of this fact,
After years of being told of the tragedy of Senna?
Senna, Senna, Senna,
And not one mention of this poor guy Ratzenberger! You bastards);

After a lengthy unbroken period of safety, this had been an unprecedentedly-dark weekend,
(Full of frankly eerie stories),
And even on the day before that,
Yet another driver had almost lost their life;

As if it wasn’t enoughβ€” the race had been started twice,
Pieces of bodywork flown into the crowd causing minor injuries;
There was so much context to this situation, that it’s hard to comprehend,
β€”Of which I’d had no idea at the time;

So with everything all together, it still brings me a unique chill,
Whenever I look into the life and times of Ayrton Senna,
And that one short clip, which takes me right back there,
To the one hazy memory where it all began.


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