“Jesus Christ! I could die”, I thought in that moment, standing on that busy road divider.
“I could get my head split open under a speedy truck and die—and that would be it. That would be the end of all that I ever was or could ever be.”
I have had these thoughts before. You know, the blade on wrist kind of thoughts, the rat poison in pastry, or the classic hang by the fan, or the gun in mouth, kind of thoughts. But I never really attempted any of those. Did not even get close to one. They were just thoughts.
Living alone for so many years, I had come to terms with the fact that if I died, no one would know that I am dead for days. Until of course, I swelled up and started to smell, or till someone noticed the scattered piles of uncollected newspapers and flyers on my front door or till scavengers left a trail on the front yard telling a probable story of their own of, “what might have happened”. But standing there, in that moment, the thought of dying did not scare me.
When the first truck passed by, with its whimpering engine churning a gallon of black dust and its speed flapping my unbuttoned shirt, like a superheroes’ cape, I would not lie, I was tempted to shove my head in its windshield. It brought a satisfactory leer to my eyes. How dysfunctional my life was, you’d think.
Then the next truck passed by, then a bus, then a mini-van, then a SUV, then a truck again. Too many idiots were alive and breathing and driving and honking. Would it matter to this world, if one of them was gone, just like that, on a Tuesday? I didn’t think so!
So, when the next speedy vehicle came closer, I wanted to lean in, but not so much that it could mush my head in the grounds. I wanted to strike that “perfect balance” between what I wanted and what could really happen.
The closer it came, the more I was tempted. My body had a lingering sensation from my feet and all the way up to my head, and I felt weightless and my head … my head was clear and light, like the head of an unborn, floating inside a womb.
That thing on wheels, came closer and closer, honking, at a full-speed. My jaws had tightened by now, in a mix of despair and thrill. I closed my eyes and I breathed-in heavy and breathed-out, and with that, something happened. Something like a warm wave, passed right through me. I clasped my hands and let go.
The next thing I knew; I was on the ground, with hundreds of people hunched over me, whispering, murmuring, panicking …
“Shit.” Someone said.
“Shit. Shit. Shit”, some of them said.
“Call an ambulance! Looks like, he got his arm cut off.”, suggested someone, almost reaching for my cracked phone and wallet.
“Shut the fuck up! I am fine.”
I murmured under my breath, stood up, dusted myself, popped my knuckles, pushed a few shoulders and moved away from the mob, like a wrestler on drugs. I walked as if I did not have blood all over my shirt and trousers and as if, people had not really noticed me being hit by a truck.
I walked over to a corner street medical shop, picked up an elbow support, crape bandages, some cottons and medicines and painkillers. I asked the guy how much was it all for? He did not even look at me. I asked him thrice. He kept yappity-yapping to the filthy customers who wanted to pay a buck less than what he had quoted, for everything that they had carted.
I was never a shop-lifter, but I became one in that moment. My bleeding head and almost a broken elbow, did not give me a lot of time to bargain.
So I came out of the shop and sat right in front of it, on the pavement, trying to reach to the back of my head. There were too many bleeding spots in my head, that I couldn’t see. I sat there wishing someone to stop and help me with the first-aid.
People, filthy people of this world, bustled on the streets like cockroaches, unsure of which gutter they came out of and which one they wanted to go into. No one, not even a single one, stopped by, took a look at me or asked me how I got hurt so bad. Mostly, because I did not look like I was a homeless hurt beggar, but also, because I looked more like I was shot a couple of times in a gang war, like one of those reservoir dogs.
Then a lady came forth. I did not make any eye contacts with her. I was a bit scared of her appearance. She looked straight out of rehab; she had no hair, no teeth, no eyes, no ass, no mouth, no lips, no clothes, no soul, no voice, basically nothing aesthetic you’d want to see on a human body. She was just a walking unnoticeable nobody on those streets. She could stand next to a pale yellow wall and blend with it. I wanted to know what kind of drugs she was on—that filthy skank!
But she had noticed me. She came closer, held my hands and dragged me along with her. I wanted to jerk her nasty arms and rush home, maybe take an antiseptic shower and scrub myself till I bled and chop my arms off, by the end of it all. But I couldn’t. Her touch was not the kind of touch, I had ever felt. It wasn’t warm or cold or sweaty or normal. It was just blissful. So I did not act frisky. I stayed calm and let her do her own thing.
She walked me back to where I was a few minutes ago; near that busy road divider. The cops had arrived there, the lorry that had hit me, was there too. The driver had gotten his ass busted. Some idiot, had really got carried away and had called an ambulance worth no use.
I saw my blood splattered in five radius meters. I had no idea, I had bled so much. Half of the mob was still there; just standing, gossiping, and clicking photos.
“Fucking losers!” I thought. I knew what I had to do next; walk up to the cops, give my official statement and get the driver off the grid. It wasn’t really his fault after all.
I wanted to walk over to him, but lady held on to me tight, she kept walking me to the spot, till I saw it. And I saw, covered in white sheets, laying on the floor, the half split open head of mine, that bled from one cut off ear to the other and back, and my nose and jaws and cheeks were mushed in the cement like a fresh coating of concrete. And on my sides and fronts and backs and all over the street, among walking and driving and honking civilians, were other unnoticeable silhouettes and blobs, shaped like ladies and men and kids and dogs and everything that looked like it was once alive.