My family (Mom, me, two younger sisters and an older brother) often spent weekends at my Aunt’s house in Raiford, Florida. The roads in Raiford and the tiny towns nearby are dark, narrow, winding, no streetlights, deserted with an almost non-existent amount of traffic. When I was seven years old late one pitch black night we were driving back from a high school basketball game. As we rounded a bend we suddenly stopped as we came upon a horrible and deadly car wreck. A white male in his early 20s was in the middle of the road screaming, begging, ‘Please! Somebody tell me what happened! What happened?’ A huge unscathed dark car with an older black couple was parked on the opposite side of the road pointed in the right direction, faces contorted with shock and horror. Off the road to the right of us sat a white Corvair in freshly churned dirt. The front was crushed into the dashboard. The roof was partially caved in and the only glass left was a small piece of the rear windshield. That’s where I noticed the contorted and mangled body. It was smashed between what was left of the front seats and what little was left of the back windshield. I watched it for what seemed like a long time. It did not move. It was covered in so much blood that it was almost hard to tell that it was a white male. I stood mesmerized and captivated by its sight. I could not make myself look away. That is when I walked over and lightly stroked its skin oblivious to the blood on it. It was like it beckoned to me to come over to it, to touch it and stroke it; like I was giving it the last bit of gentleness and comfort that it would ever have. I wasn’t scared at all. It was something that I had to do. Like it wanted me to touch it and it felt so natural to do so.
Okay, I don’t know about you guys, but I really don’t think my Mom would have let me touch a mangled body when I was 7.