The other day, when I was running, I noticed the road kill had been removed and had been removed quite thoroughly. Macabre as it may be, I looked intently at the previously gory scene for any kind of remnants, for any kind of tangible proof that the dead possum had been there in the first place. There was no evidence – the pavement was stained, no organs had been absent-mindedly neglected, and there was absolutely nothing disturbed or out of place. Admittedly, I was relieved that my eyes did not take in anything that would upset my stomach, but I was also somewhat saddened. That poor creature had been wiped from existence. It was no longer living and as far as I know, I am the only who knows and cares enough to write about it. I understand that the possum was not a sentient being and was not a pet and that to some factions of thought its death is not a tragedy but a mere continuation of the pattern of existence we are all traveling along. I can understand, acknowledge, and accept all of that and still be upset because I worry and fear that the same fate belongs to some human beings, some that I may even know. I have already discussed how a wasted life is my greatest fear.
“Looper,” the new science fiction film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis tackles that same theme, in a manner of speaking. It is about time travel and while that may set off some alarms, the story does not become mired down in hypotheticals and impossibilities and trivial aspects. Rather, the story focuses on the passage of time as humans grow and age and learn and live. Time spent on Earth means different things to different people and it even means different things to the same person at different times. It also reviews and challenges the cyclical nature of time and goes so far as to hint, in my always humble opinion, that it is our responsibility to be cognizant of this cycle, and to sacrifice our own cycle of time to break a cycle in which a neighbor is suffering. “Looper” was a remarkable film and without a doubt, it is a new favorite.
In the movie, both male leads order steak and eggs for breakfast at a diner. I did the same today. Yes, I ordered steak and eggs because I saw it in a movie once. The eggs and hash browns and toast and coffee were great; the steak was okay. It wasn’t the best cut as it was very fatty, so I’m going to try the order again at a different diner. The diner experience was not ruined, however. I talked with an older man about football and his father’s military service. I thanked a table of enlisted men for their service. I chatted with an elderly couple about the economy, employment and the weather. When the female half of the couple observed me hunched over many sheets of lined paper with a pen clutched in my hand, she correctly assumed that I was an English teacher with papers to grade. However, I was not grading papers; I was working – or trying to work – on my second novel. Why didn’t I tell her that? Why didn’t I explain that I was a young, up and coming author? Why did I falter?
Maybe it’s because I do not have a physical copy of the book and as such, my dream has not truly been realized. Maybe I’m afraid that if I say it out loud, it won’t come true because it is still only a wish, a desperate fantasy, a silly girl’s imagination running away.
Today was not such a good day. For the majority of it, I felt overwhelmed and underwhelming. It was an awful, complicated contradiction in emotion where I was frantic for perfection but fell short of the mark every time, so in turn, I became angry and defensive. During my prep period, I truly had a strong desire to sit by myself and cry – to just let it all out. I behaved like an adult and held it together, but I am still on the fence as to whether or not I did myself any favors.
When I was running, I saw a possum lying in the road. Clearly, the creature had been struck by an automobile and that happens time and time again so in all actuality, there was nothing remarkable about the scene. However, I could not turn my eyes away. It’s dark, beady eyes were still open, looking out at nothing and offering nothing. Similarly, its mouth was still open and I could see sharp, tiny, pointed teeth, as if the poor beast had gone down fighting, teeth bared and snarling against the metal contraption hurtling towards it impossibly fast. Are possums classified as sentient beings? Would it have been horrified to see the headlights bearing down upon him, or would there have been just a moment of simple curiosity? It made me sad to think like that, so I tried to alter my train of thought, but that became impossible when I saw the pavement stained red with blood and realized that somehow, by some scientific logic, the entrails of the animal had exited his frame from the back end and lay whole in the road. It took a moment for my mind to comprehend precisely what it was that my eyes were viewing, but there was no denying the veins, the tissue and the matter that had once been a stomach or a kidney or something important, something that worked to keep the possum alive. I felt nauseous and finally, I was able to look away.
Running clears my mind. It helps me to think and it helps me to be creative. I know I can describe the scene in more detail, and that will most likely be my assignment for the next few days. I want to be a horror writer. I want to be able to create lasting and almost tangible images using only words. The sight of a possum lying dead in the read is not extraordinary or uncommon, but how can it become grotesque so that a reader can perfectly see it to the point of becoming physically uncomfortable? That is what I long to discover, and I suppose that will come in time with patience and practice.