Debris flew from the incoming lane. A car crashed into the divisor barrier of the highway. I slam on the brakes and lower the volume on my radio. I am unsure of what I am seeing. But, as simple as that, there it laid. What it was, and no longer is. We do not know the exact point where life begins. Is it the heart beat? Where is the conscience? When do we begin to be humans and cease to be just a conglomerate of cells multiplying? But we sure as fuck now when it ends.
I’d never seen a dead body before. I’ve only seen people die in movies. But this was not a movie, there was nothing graceful nor climatic about his expiration. It took less than a second for the humanity to escape him. I watched it transform from man, to a clothed bag of meat. It was no longer one of us.
As people frantically called 911, I approached it. It laid on its left side, right arm over its head covering his mangled face. Its torso laid exposed. Its innards laid on the ground- they didn’t belong to him anymore. I didn’t have to touch it to know it was still warm.
Can it hear us? Is it still clinging to hope? Of course not. He is no longer one of us. But those seconds prior to he exit, I bet he envied us. I smile. I am here, understanding death for the first time. Knowing one day it will be my turn and I wont be caught by surprise because I had this day. The day I saw a man crash through his windshield into the pavement at 90 mph. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
Strangers are crying.
I walk back to my car and continue my journey. I forgot what I was listening to on the radio.