It was in second grade that I first saw one of them. It lay there with its throat slashed open, glassy eyes unseeing, tongue hanging out, body smashed. I was riveted, couldn’t look away no matter how much I wanted to. I asked my mum about it, she immediately changed the topic. I felt contaminated somehow, like mentioning or even noticing was wrong. I didn’t feel right for a week afterward. I looked for it the next day, but it was gone, even all traces of its dull blood. I was relieved. At least someone noticed.
I was disgusted the next time I came across one of them. This time, it wasn’t from a distance. It was close—very close and gruesome—very gruesome. I felt guilty immediately for being disgusted. Then I felt sad. People walked by it, ignoring it. That’s all the existence of this creature had come down to: ending up as road kill, ignored and disgusting.
Last week I saw another one. Its head had been run over, it’s beautiful, bushy tail having tire marks over it. There wasn’t a lot of blood—perhaps it had dried, but it was still horrible. Its golden coat was matted with dirt and flies and stale blood. Again no one noticed. Or pretended not to, which is worse.
I cried when I got home. I cried because everyone deserved to have at least one person cry over their death, and something told me no one had cried over its. I hoped that somewhere out there, it knew that at least someone knew; of their existence and of their death. Humans have funerals, these events where the loving gather around the deceased loved and speak of their greatness. Road kill however, do not have that luxury; they are murdered by a species that couldn’t care less and abandoned by their own.
I wanted its death to matter. I wanted it to affect somebody and so I cried. I cried so its death had meaning; so the end to its life didn’t go by unfelt. I cried so that somebody would return the favor and cry on my death, to make it a meaningful one.
I hope I don’t end up like road kill. I hope somebody notices. I wish all of it wasn’t so pathetic; I wish that the dog had died while saving a kid or its own kids, so that it the death could be heroic, less pathetic. I hope it has a wonderful backstory, that the death was a result of a sacrifice and not an accident.
My existence has to amount to more than simply becoming “out of sight, out of mind”.