When I was in college, I waited tables at the local resort in the summertime.
I drove the back roads in my grey Nissan with the windows rolled down.
On my way to a double shift, a great bird of prey smashed into my windshield. Stunning me and wounding the hawk.
Startled and shaking, I watched it suffer from a distance in the field beside the road, and then got back in my car, late for my shift.
Upset, angry, and confused, I kept driving to my destination.
"I didn't see you coming!" I raged. I was driving fast with the windows down, lost in plans for the future.
"I didn't mean to hurt you." I cried.
Later that night I came back looking for the bird, desperate to find it, hoping to save it, feeling guilty for leaving it suffering like that, and irresponsible for choosing work over the care of that beautiful creature....
But I couldn't find it, it was gone, no trace of its body, not a feather, I never knew if it lived or died. But the shock and awe of our collision remains vivid in my memory more than a decade later.
I think this is the way it is with love.
You're driving the back roads with the windows down, lost in plans for the future, when someone dives in front of the car that you're driving too fast on a curve at dusk when the sun is in your eyes and you're squinting to see "what just happened?!".
You didn't see it coming until both your guts are splattered across the windshield smashing your heart wide open in that raw bloody pulp way.
You rage, "I didn't see you coming!"
You cry, "Why'd you throw yourself in front of me, if you weren't committed"?
"I didn't mean to hurt you", someone whimpers from the distance, engulfed in their own suffering.
Later, one of you comes back in search of the other, feeling guilty for leaving the other suffering like that, irresponsible for choosing work over the care of your relationship, but there's no trace of the other.
You look for a sign, a feather of hope, you don't know how the other survived, you wonder, but years later the aftereffects of your collision are still vivid.
The memory of that last crash scene of your relationship, frozen in time, like a snapshot of a tragic accident, or the ending of a movie that leaves you emotional, uncomfortable, and ungratified.
As I'm driving down the interstate, looking out over the highway and into the clouds hanging above the mountains a thought over takes me.
When I leave this world, I wanna go out in a moment of surprise.
Like a deer through the windshield.
I didn't see it coming, I was looking at the clouds through the glass, and then I was gone.
The last thought to cross my mind, the awe of creation and the curious nature of clouds.
I wasn't lying when I said this was over.
I've have questions that lead to more questions.
Like a deer through the windshield, violent and beautiful, sudden and unavoidable.