On Thursday, November 9, 2000, I drove my car, grill first, into a ravine.
Spearing past kudzu and branches, I saw all. I saw birth, baptism, baccalaureate, old friends, comfortable like worn leather shoes. I looked into the face of a boy whose name is never forgotten and turned away from the blind eye of a goddess gone AWOL. I saw ballot boxes, broken hearts, and crocodile bones resting on the bottom of a marsh. Then, like a rag doll tossed from the crib, I landed upside down and backwards. I bounced up, dusted off, and climbed out.
On Friday, November 10, 2000, I woke in my bed, tangled in sheets. My heart wasn’t Old Faithful gushing. I didn’t feel grateful, gregarious gaiety. I rolled over to see Mortality lying beside me. He stroked my hair. “Did you sleep well?” he asked; his breath was too ripe fruit. He ran his craggy finger, cold and green, down my spine. “Are you tired? Sore? Do your muscles ache? Does your head spin?”
He wanted to get me an aspirin, but I said, “Bugger off,” and went back to sleep.