I almost hit a dog this morning, driving into work. I saw a hundred things, all at once, in the time it takes a stopwatch to make one click.
I saw the dog, twenty feet in front of me, trotting out from a dirt drive, smiling, happy to have made it to another morning, tail circling and tongue dragging. I saw the same dog, crumpled like an accordion. and me, hovering over him, stroking his bloody body while he winced in pain, whimpering an arrival announcement to the other world. He stared at me with eyes full of hope and love.
I saw him again, twenty feet behind me as I drove past, sitting on the other side of the road, still smiling, still wagging his tail, tongue still drooping and drooling. I’m sure he wished I would stop and scratch his head.
In the same apparition, I saw me, on my bicycle, a year ago, hit and flying. I saw me fly through the air and land on my right side and crumple like an accordion, just like the dog. I wondered if the person who hit me felt the same angst I did when I saw the dog. When I instantly imagined him crumpled and bloody. I can’t say. He felt badly enough to call 911. At least he did that. Most people, most people who hit a lone cyclist or runner or even someone just tooling along the backroad, just keep on driving. Maybe they feel badly too, but not so much that they stop and call.