One lane slowly rolls by…and I have time to burn the image indelibly into my memory.
Black blood and brain material. Splattered. The body not even covered by a blanket yet. The cops just trying to do traffic and not look. The paramedics on the phones waiting on instructions from the coroner or the investigators. Should we cover the body? Wait just a bit more. Don’t want to disturb any evidence.
There will be an investigation. Tire tracks through the blood. The path is clear. The car/truck that mowed him down is nowhere to be seen. They’ll take pictures and mark the road and scoop up the remains and file everything away. Even if they somehow bother to find the other driver, well, it was just a rider. The other driver will say something like, “I didn’t see him.” The authorities will nod and explain that the rider chose to be out here so it’s really his responsibility. You should have stayed. You should have called. But no biggie. Nothing would have helped him. Brains can’t be put back. Just be more careful. Have a good life.
One firefighter putting oil soak down. Building a barrier to keep the blood from running into the remaining traffic lane. Cars splashing through the blood would seem…irreverent somehow.
The motorcycle, as prone as the rider…but showing more life. The lights still glowing. It’s a plea really. *Please get up. Let’s go.*
There will be no answer. The machine is as doomed as the rider. It’ll get dragged onto a wrecker, dumped in the corner of an impound yard, and never see the road again. Perhaps bike and rider will meet again on another plain.
You’d think it would make the news. It doesn’t. The news is too full of the most shameful display of dog and pony and posturing assassination politics yet…the grandstanding and carnage there would be almost as distressing as the carnage here…if their show wasn’t so laughable. I’d trade every one of them for five extra seconds for this man to react to the conflict that killed him. Even one second may have granted him a lifetime.
You’d think I’d be immune…to the death and brains and blood. I’ve seen it before. Too many times. Several times I’ve known their names. Immune…or at least jaded.
I’m not immune. I’m not jaded. I don’t…cannot…see the body there as one drop in a sea of humanity…irrelevant. Superfluous. Invisible. Replaceable.
Rather I see the family that’s waiting for him…that will instead get a call. The wife or girlfriend that was his warm and willing woman…and will sleep alone tonight. The dreams and hopes and goals in front of him. The people he’s impacted behind him. The things and projects and stuff he worked on and nurtured…that now will languish and die.
The rest of his life was in front of him when he got on this ride. I can guarantee he didn’t know that it was to be so short.
I can’t help but know how I’d feel if this happened to my lover. I can’t help but wonder what would happen to HER life if this happened to mine.
But that’s all I can do…wonder. The scene here is over. Played out. Static. Printed. End credits. No thoughts, no actions, will change the outcome. No explanations will matter. There is only death and carnage…and the pain that dispatches to others.
My turn comes to squeeze by the constricted lanes. The car behind me honks. I resist the urge to just stop and pay my respects. They wouldn’t matter to him anyway.
I take a breath and wipe my eyes and slide on by. On into the rest of my life.
I expect I’ll revisit this in my dreams…
Y’all be safe out there.
I’ll see you on the road.