My dad was late picking me up to go home for fall break. He was held up by a terrible accident, an SUV toppled and completely flattened, the firemen scrambling to get the survivors out. “How horrible!” I thought idley, as one does.
When we were driving back we approached the accident site, the traffic creeping along due to downed power lines. My dad, keeping his eyes on the road, commented “It was right over there, it was horrible, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone died.”
“Oh..there’s a dead person right there..” I stammered before I realized how silly that sounded, my eyes locked on the site as we rolled past. Logic had tried hopelessly at first,ah, it’s just someone sitting there, because you don’t see dead bodies, you just don’t. But it was fleeting, as my eyes floated on the corpse with a puzzled sort of strain, the same sort of gaze the police and ambulance crew had as they stood there, one of them taking photos.
It could’ve very well been an old man fallen asleep in an easy chair, his head lulled back in a gruesome sort of snore, except for the more graphic parts, I suppose. They had to cut away the entire car to get to him, so he was sprawled there in the seat with a ravaged carcass of metal twisted behind him.
We rolled past, slowly.
“Someone won’t be coming home from work tonight,” my dad sighed solemnly.
“Mmm.” I agreed, unable to rip my eyes from the dead man until we were well out of range.
I turned back with a shudder, my mind full and numb. I still have that icy chill in the pit of my stomach. Such is mortality and the things we take for granted.