There was a time my father and I shared thoughts under the same light. We stared at the heavens together and he pointed up above to the site of the space shuttle on its scheduled route that he had timed. I remember how still and dark the night was, void of any moon. The stars lit the sky. Just at that moment when we enjoyed a comfortable silence, we heard a horrendous noise of an explosive metallic scream. Two vehicles had collided head-on a hundred yards down the road. The traffic backed up as we ran to the crash site. I remember hearing a girl cry out loudly. She was not involved in the accident but was shook up from the graphic heap of smoking wreckage. I saw my first dead person that night. His neck snapped and he lay flat. His head dormant, sideways across his chest. The man, I learned, was only five miles away from seeing his family. He was driving home from an Army base somewhere in South Carolina. The man in the other vehicle, a sizeable Buick, was alive. In the shadow of a weak car light, he moved his arm slow like a praying mantis. I’m sure the young traveler didn’t feel a thing as his tiny yellow Pinto was consumed by the mighty old luxury car. The memory of the day is never far behind: the life leaving a man’s body and the smell of smoking antifreeze and oil, the crying and moaning of a woman, and the rare occasion of warm bonding with my father as we gazed at the heavens.
May 5, 2021 • no comments