We came upon the accident just after it happened. A man was on the horn calling for emergency assistance and another man was on the ground looking very much dead. He had been knocked out of his shoes; they looked odd sitting on the road waiting to be worn. This was on the way to my birthday cookout this past Sunday. It made me think of that time in high school.
Our substitute bus driver sped down a bumpy dirt road in much need of grading. Those of us in the back nearly hit our heads on the ceiling; it was great! We were all giggling when we saw it: the car on the side of the road. Something unusual about this one. A pair of human legs stuck out from underneath. They were naked and bloody, and the spastic bus driver let some of us off to check on the woman.
She lay still there in black rings of thirsty earth that had long since lapped up her generous offering of life. The razor blade was as obvious as the longitudinal chasms she had fashioned (in her arms AND legs) out of steel and desperation. She bled and bled and bled until all the poison of living was gone. She left the world behind and burned a young image of death in minds that weren't even prepared for the algebra we were supposed to be learning.
A week later my dog followed me to the bus stop. She was hit by a car as the bus approached. I left her squealing and writhing in a puddle of blood. Her eyes followed me all the way to the door of the bus. I ran away from the pain as fast as I could go. I left her there to choke on death alone.
Two years passed, and I was speeding down the highway late for embalming lab. Someone had dumped her on the side of the road. The woman was mottled and purple and as dead as she was naked. I kept driving. She was unobscured; I left the drama and frantic 911 calls to someone else.
I've seen so much of it; I thought I knew death.
I didn't know anything.