I’m not going to start at the beginning. Instead, I’m going to start with the worst of it. I may not catch up, but I’ll do my best to continue to write about interesting things for you, Dear Reader, because without readers, writers are just talking to themselves. I do that, too, but it’s nice to talk to someone else on occasion. Especially when it comes to things like this.
First, a disclaimer. Don’t read this entry if you have a weak stomach.
We spent the weekend in Connecticut. I have plenty of stories to share of that, but such things must wait. On the way home, along route 395, the snow that had been no more than flurries, began to collect along the road. Those of you who’ve lived in snow-prone areas know that the first hour or so when snow begins to build on the roads, can be the most slippery point of a storm. The flakes transition from melting on impact to accumulation, creating small pockets of slick roads that just look wet. I am most wary during that first hour.
As I watched the snow swirl along the black top – yet another special effect you see best in the first hour – my husband taps the brakes. I look up.
Ahead many cars were braking. Some pulled onto the shoulder.
Nearer, I saw a large swatch of churned Earth bared of snow, and then a couple of trees freshly stripped of bark.
A truck sped by in the break-down lane and stopped. People milled around on the hill between the road and the naked trees.
Cars on the far side of the highway stopped. A man was on his cell phone. A woman was running back to her car.
Then we passed it. First Responders had yet to arrive.
There is a reason they cover bodies with bright yellow blankets. Watching NCIS marathons and playing video games cannot desensitize against the possibility of seeing a young woman sprawled on the pavement. She did not move from the cold shoulder of the road. She laid on her stomach, alone, in her brightly colored sweater. Her long, curly hair covered her face, and one arm sprawled out over her head like she was sleeping. Her car, behind her, was missing its roof. I learned later it was an Explorer. The remains of it did not look big enough to be an SUV.
I didn’t see the second girl, but I might have. I’m glad I didn’t recognize her body in the seconds it took to get past the scene. I didn’t look long and I didn’t look back once we passed.
I won’t forget those ginger curls. Nor the half of an SUV as her backdrop.