Did you know what would happen? Did you jump toward something or away from something? Was it the alcohol or some alter personality that made the final split-second decision? As your body rag dolled out of his moving pickup, did you feel your impact with the road? Was that a more tolerable option to something else, or was your mind in another world?

Because your body was very much here. On the side of the road. A woman’s body, limp, like the tarp that wriggles loose on moving day, landing on the ground with no agency to leave its resting place on its own. ¬†Who discarded you?

The story of your day was revealed in pieces as I talked with bystanders and listened to police and paramedics investigate. You had been drinking all morning. You take lots of meds. No meth or pot. You had been arguing with your day care provider so the driver of the pickup was taking you to his house to sleep off your drunk and cool down. You demanded alcohol from him as the two of you rolled down Skyway, where I pulled in behind you. When he refused to give you a drink, you decided to leave the vehicle, not waiting for him to finish slowing down and pulling over.

That’s the story of a moment, but that’s not the story. Chronologically speaking, you were probably once somebody’s baby. But that’s a lullaby when a life needs an opera. There’s no one to write your opera, filled with childhood friends, jobs, favorite dishes, incremental hurts. But what about all these silent, unrecorded moments of abruptness? An elephant steps on an ant, someone gets fired and goes home. Someday our sun will die. The vast silence doesn’t mark things. People do, when we become aware. We note the time, we sort and classify.

I have no category for your unconscious body on the asphalt. I’m deciding to leave it that way, as the only way I have for honoring the story I don’t know. I notice my very human hope that you will heal, that your story will continue. But that’s my need for a box with a lovely ribbon. No one can honestly offer a different world to you. I don’t know what is best.

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