Friday, May 27, 2005

life

two days ago three people my age from our family friend circle were killed in an automobile accident.

a fourth person barely came out of it alive, and is now charged with reckless homicide. he had been behind the wheel. they found alcohol in his system. he could get 28 years in prison. he has no criminal record.

their car didn't make it around a curve on a backwoods road. after hitting a few trees it was found, mangled and literally split in half, by a jogger.

i heard the news and felt bad, even worse when the names sounded familiar. our families used to hang out at religious functions back in the day. i'm sure i've had more than one dinner indian-style on the floor off styrofoam plates in somebody's basement with these people at some point in my life.

you hear about stuff like this every day, and you shake your head and say 'what a tragedy.' but then things like getting to work on time or finding a tape to record the season finale of your show get in the way.

we have a small but close community. when something bad happens, people come out en masse, filling up waiting rooms with bodies and refrigerators with tupperware. i had to work, but my parents visited one of the victims' parents and the crash site. nearly a hundred people were there: people we've known over the years all walking around, shaking their heads and rehashing the details over and over. the folks came back and told me about how the parents were doing (not well), how all they have left are the diplomas, trophies and hopes that will never be fulfilled, how the father didn't cry at all until a relative handed him his son's glasses -- found in the bushes by the side of the road.

all that stuff brought on tears. especially from watching my mother cry while she was saying it.

but what made it very real was logging onto one of those networking sites. some sadistic impulse made me type in one of the names. there was a photo of the guy -- at a turntable, earphones half on his head.

he's single.
he's 27.
he's a cancer.
his last logon was thursday may 12.

and on his links list: the other victims.

this guy's never going to log on again. he'll never have the chance to get an ego boost from the number of times his profile has been viewed since the beginning of the month.

he'll never know that some girl, who probably stood behind him in the buffet line at some 25th anniversary party or graduation celebration years ago, has been thinking about him nonstop for two days. thinking about how she most likely would have had to hear about his upcoming wedding and probably would comment on his cute children in a few years. thinking about how if her family still went to that church, she'd probably be friends with him. and if she hadn't been working, she might have been at the barbeque they were coming home from, and if she wasn't thinking, she might have accepted that ride home because she lives nearby. and maybe that would be her father on the tv, heartbroken. maybe the people telling the media what good kids they were would be the people who watched her grow up. maybe it would be her friend who will recover to face prison and a lifetime's worth of guilt because of one impaired, reckless, stupid, irreversible decision.

it's too short, people. let's not waste it being miserable.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Akshay :

I know a guy who is alive after a night of drunken driving. It was after his senior prom night.

He is now 34, 16 years after the incident, on a wheelchair. He was Oxford bound and he lives everyday watching the results of his own mistakes in life.

It is a shame that these people are not there with you and in some way, I wish I could help you out more.

For the driver, I hope he/she does not have a breakdown. There are lots more aspects to this personal tragedy besides the lives of those who are lost, the one who is living too has a lot to answer for, both in his own conscience, to the community he mixes in and to the law.

Know that as a person who only trades comments with you. Am with y

Anonymous said...

Akshay:

Have a good memorial day weekend to all of you.
Rest, relax and have a few drinks, chill and we are not back to the grind on a monday. Enjoy it.

Ale said...

waw, i'm not mature enough to hear things like that- i don't even know how to react. hope you are ok-
besotos

girlspit said...

Whoa. It's devastating to go through something like that. But, like you say, it can make you appreciate your life more. Make you remember how special, how precious life is. Fantastic post, I got all teary.

Jon said...

This makes me sad because it reminds me of a friend that died in a very similar fashion. One day you're hanging out, the next you're looking at their body in a coffin, desperately trying to think of something consoling to say to the parents, but nothing comes…

Andy said...

Very nicely written, Cadiz. Very wrenching, because it is too true.

I can't offer anything more to this post, as you have covered it all.

To have someone so young be taken from this mortal coil, we will lament the faded light that was their life.

'ka said...

i do agree with you... life is way too short... unfortunately, being young is shorter than the life itself...