Along a Road
I drive along an early morning road, a busy dual Acheron that snakes quickly into town. Ahead, a black bin bag. No, it's possiblity something more sinister, a dead crow or even a... as I get nearer, the open eyes stare glassily back at me, reflecting my seven a.m. headlights. It is a domestic cat. I have one at home. He is my life, my joy, my pride. This cat is dead. Jet black, on his side, facing into the oncoming traffic. A moment and he passes under the centre of my chassis, my heart left with him on the tarmac. Three hundred yards ahead I nearly go through the reddened lights.
Should I turn back? It's difficult here, this road is not made for turning. I debate philosophically:
He was dead, I could not alter that.
It is a bleak road, would moving him to a verge alert his family any better?
It is a dangerous, not to mention traumatising, thing to walk into a dual carriageway and handle a freshly-stricken corpse. To lift it to comparative calm. To encounter death head-on.
When my father died, seeing his corpse, even only one minute after he had passed, he was not in there. Whereas before, in his days before dying, even when he was so ill that he couldn't twitch or blink or swallow, his mouth a cracked and swollen desert, he was there in himself. The cut of death severed him from his essence.
I did not turn back. I said my prayers for his soul and moved-on. I will go via a different route on my evening return. For though I feel some guilt, it is a guilt for the monster of human construction that could create such a death. It is not for any action of my own.
I hope, when I have been severed, I will be unburdened. It is comforting to think that, whether by oblivion or by ascension and rebirth, we can nullify the pains of this world.
I find, too, comfort in the notion that the malefactions we mete-out to such poor creatures can bring them an instant eternal reprieve from suffering in the instant the crime is committed.
Not that I would find myself freed from guilt. But for their suffering to be erased is as good as we can hope for in such circumstance.