Secret Pop

Sep 30, 2008

This took the language right out of my mouth.

I was looking for parking near my office today, and I saw a man hanging by the neck from a noose made of a green garden hose. He was moving. Flopping kind of like a fish, but not really moving his arms and legs. And his entire lower body, from the pelvis down, was on the ground. The noose was only a couple of feet above the ground, but his head was through the eye of it, and he was suspended by the neck to some degree. I could see him moving and twisting, and I couldn't really tell what I was looking it. When I see things I don't expect to see, especially here, it's my habit to look around and see if someone is filming or if it's part of some joke or perhaps some private activity that is none of my business. Because no one hangs themselves on a street corner at ten o'clock in the morning, right? I stopped my car and didn't know if I should call someone. I couldn't see the man's face. Only the back of his head. And because he was still moving around, I wondered if he was just trying something out. (I don't know what. There's no use asking me what I mean by that.) But it bothered me, and I felt like I should check and see if he was okay, and at the same time, I didn't want to embarrass him. And I was a little bit afraid. So I went into my office and told Jessie, and she called 911 for me and they said they would send officers to check it out.

The police called my office a short while later and spoke to me directly and asked me to tell them what I saw, and even at that point I wasn't sure if they had actually seen the man, or if they were just about to go over there or if they were documenting the report but maybe when they got to the scene there was no one there. That's what I was thinking. But the officer said, "Oh, no, no. We've already been over there. Another neighbor saw him and cut him down and he was taken to the hospital, but we don't know if he lived." And I was shocked and I felt sick. I still do. Mainly because I've never seen something like that. And I can't get that picture out of my head. Everything feels very delicate and brittle right now. Like if I move too quickly, it will all break apart. And my brain is stuck on it. I didn't make an affirming statement to myself or reconsider my own tenuous attachment to life. I don't even know what to say in the privacy of my own thoughts. I don't know who that man was, and I don't know what was happening in his life. But I felt very bad about it. And it really, really bothered me. Really. And other than being able to say that, I don't know what words to use.

No comments: