::NOTE- I WILL write about that movie y'all are prolly expecting. I want to see it one more time, first.::
It's the Fourth of July!
This post is decidedly not about that.
Sometimes, stuff gets stuck in your head. And I'm not just talking about songs.
Maybe you just saw a really cool movie and bits of a super cool and pivotal scene keep flashing through your mind's eye.
Maybe you went on a really good first date, and your thoughts keep drifting back to that person, to their voice, their smile, how their hand felt, interlocked with yours. (Or, alternatively, it could have been a really awful date, in which case, you're reliving the angst of it all.)
Maybe you're in the service industry, and you had to deal with the Worst Customer Ever, and the condescending, disrespectful, and/or threatening way they spoke to you just won't get out of your ears.
Maybe you have a big presentation to prep for, but you're at family dinner, listening to Uncle Earl tell you about the inevitable zombiepocalypse, 'cuz guv'ment, for the umpteenth time this year.
Maybe you're worried about the direction the country is going, and you can't shake the feeling something terrible is going to happen, and you're coming up with a plan to move yourself and your family to Canada, where it's safer.
Maybe you're damn hungry.
I had something on my mind today. Or, no, I had the curiosity of someone on my mind today.
It being the Fourth and all, there was an unspeakably small amount of traffic on the roads- I got an extra hour of sleep, even! But I noticed that some electric signs that can be changed (usually to indicate variant speeds) said the two left lanes were closed. I merged into an appropriate lane, and eventually saw what was obviously some sort of crash site. I couldn't see any damaged cars, though, just lots of law enforcement vehicles. The scene was on a curve, a left one, at that, so as I got far enough up to see around the last car, I saw yellow tarp.
And when I got enough around the curve to see the tarp close enough, I saw a head. And a hand. The tarp was covering a body, a man's body.
Now, my commute isn't exactly short, even when there's a dearth of traffic. So I spent the next twenty minutes gripping the steering wheel to keep myself in control, gripping so tightly, my hands still hurt a little now, more than twelve hours later.
That whole car ride, so many things were spinning through my brain, things I couldn't get rid of, no matter how I tried to distract myself with music, with doing things like reading licence plates out loud to myself.*
Who was he? Where was he going? Did he have plans for today, it being a big ol' holiday and all?
Do his loved ones know? Did they know he was going to be on the road so early on a holiday morning? When was the last time he saw them? Kids, did he have kids? A spouse? Siblings?
What happened that made him end up sprawled on the ground like that? Where was his vehicle?
I went to work and did the best I could, but my head wasn't in the game. It kept going back to this man, this man that I saw on the ground, cold, under a tarp, a yellow tarp that, under different circumstances, would have warranted a "big banana" joke (it was yellow). Instead,thinking of it made me feel sick. It still does, a little.
I kept forgetting things, all day. I'd trail off and forget to finish sentences.
There were a few times when I was able to throw myself into work with helping customers (bra fittings are magnificent distractions from the macabre). But it's the Fourth of July. We weren't very busy. I was having trouble finishing any of the tasks I assigned myself to (gobacks, markdowns, etc.). I was trying so hard not to think about what I had seen, I made it nigh impossible to think about much anything else- it was either him or nothing at all.
Then I had to get back in the car.
The same thoughts flooded back into my mind, breaking the dam I had forced up.
And then I got home and couldn't stop myself- I looked for information about the crash. I found this** first.
His name was Richard A. McKelvey, and he was twenty-nine years old.
A motorcycle accident, that explains the lack of car. But I had seen his hair, what about a helmet?
A new image bored itself in my brain, a man flying off a motorcycle, heading straight for a big car, his body colliding so hard and so fast, his helmet flies off.
I finally cried, like really cried, not just the watery eyes I had had off and on all day (yeah, that's me, I'm a cryer).
And I couldn't help but think of the terror he must have felt. Did he know this was It? Was he able to think of his family in that last second? Did he pray? Did he curse? Was he at peace? What was the last thing he saw? Maybe his mind went to a good memory?
I have no right to presume to know anything, but my imagination won't leave well alone. Not that it's really "well," but, y'know.
Weirdly enough, I was reminded of my ex (the one I wrote about a while back). He loves motorcycles, and had one for a while during our time together. Now, as some context, he used to drag race, for money, way before we met; that should give you an idea of his driving style, and also how he rides. I saw him ride, he was indeed reckless. Sure, he wore a helmet, but still- he had nearly died in two different accidents before we met, who was to say he'd be lucky again? I would worry about him all the time, and he didn't care (that should have meant more to me then- I'm realizing literally right now that he probably somehow enjoyed making me worry, since it was a form of control). I had started hyperventilating on my way to his place once because I passed a motorcycle accident and saw the rider on the ground, surrounded by cops, but moving. That could be him. It gave me nightmares.
So I wonder if Richard had any loved ones that worried about him the way I had worried about my ex. And my heart aches for and goes out to them, if they did. Their worst fear, come to pass.
Maybe it's presumptuous to use his first name.
I feel... trapped. His was the first body I saw that didn't belong to someone I knew***, and while this is a terrible "first" to have, it's still a first, nonetheless. And I don't know how long this is going to stay with me so... forcefully.
I don't have a funny line or gif with which to end this. All I can say is, be safe, please. You never know what's going to happen.
*I talk to myself sometimes, okay?
**I submitted the correction about the side the closed lanes were on, as when I first saw the piece (and as of this writing), it said the two right lanes were closed. But really, that's such a small thing, in comparison to everything else.
***That I remember. My mom tells me there were other opportunities to see scenes such as this, or worse, when I was little, but she shielded me from it. I love my mom so damn much.