And this fucking guy’s just standing next to his crumped up car, not really showing any signs of appreciation for still being alive, crying; just crying and crying and sobbing, whimpering about how many years he’s worked to get that car and something or other about the insurance, un-signed papers, no chance of it being covered ‘cos he ran up some guy’s arse and I’m just happening to be there, at the scene, walking past after getting a burger and some chips from the local fish ‘n’ chips, just happening by and now stuck with this tidal wave of emotion coming from this old geezer, obviously fairly conservative and evidently highly attached to some of the things of this world and I can’t help but feel the god damn weight, standing there on the road, stopping, chewing the mushed ball of burger and chips in my mouth, even pulling my beanie off like some symbol of respect, of mourning like the guy’s just seen a family member crushed to death in an accident but there’s no trace of blood or biological pain of any kind, just a bunged up car and lots of glass and the people he hit are trying to exchange details but the dude’s just grieving like you wouldn’t believe; he can’t speak, he’s wailing now and hitting the ground and I look around, sort of panicked, a little taken aback by just how much of this bugger’s grief is creeping into me and so I wander over to try mediating the exchange but it just gets messier, I can’t quite speak at the sight of him, my heart’s beating harder than when I regarded my late grandfather’s dead body at his funeral service—there’s just so much happening! and FUCK he’s seen me now and the sobs are directed to me, he can see my vulnerability, my strangely active compassion at the situation and now we’re both sort of sobbing and crying, I’m still trying to speak, to organise between the two parties an exchange of details for practical reasons, to do with after this mess is cleaned up and we can all just get on with our FUCKING lives; god, my appetite is completely gone now, I throw the burger and chips to the side and kneel down before the guy and listen to his sorrowful, sobbing words, it’s all over now, he groans, she’ll leave me and the kids will leave me without my car OH GOD my only asset, my pride and joy I drive every weekend to the country to see the stars to see the paddocks and my old Aunt’s house out in Red Hill and to jet the kids to school in the morning because they can’t walk it’s too far, way too far and the other parents there who all love my car, just love it and I’ll never get the insurance for this, NEVER! how can I go on, now? HOW? and on and on like this he goes, spluttering at times and eventually there’s spit drooling from his mouth like a baby and the other party, a mother and daughter, are just completely dumbfounded, at a complete loss as to what to do and now I feel my own sobs as I kneel next to him and I start to feel a little tingling rage welling up within me, it’s so distant but fuck it’s real, it grows and grows and I know how ridiculous it is but the power of this guy’s grief has entered me like venom and I start to scowl at the mother and daughter, at the wrecker’s of this guy’s car and thus his life, his reason for living, even though it’s all so outrageously superficial I’m completely taken by it and can feel the damn fucking moron’s situation like it’s part of my own perspective, even though it’s just a stupid car and why should anyone invest so emotionally and practically into a car, have to rely on it so much that such a tiny accident can ruin your whole life FUCK THAT it’s so silly, but I sob and sob because he’s sobbing and sobbing, SHIT! I just wanted a burger and some fries, some cheap greasy food before re-entering my nice warm house with everything I need in it but now this, this pathetic situation I’ve entangled myself in; there’s just silence now, I’ve caved completely and my arm’s around him; his tantrum is slowly coming to an end—a very strange thing to see in a businessman of about sixty years, like a toddler is trapped in that body and just won’t be suppressed—and I shake him jovially in a way that says, in that sort of hurried manner, it’s gonna be alright, mate; you’re gonna make it through this; and in all its ridiculous glory the scene seems slowly to be coming to an end, but wait, what’s that? a siren—the cops?—no—an ambulance; excellent, now to see how authorities respond to a man seemingly acting like a child whose toy has been destroyed; but they won’t see the extended reasoning, they’ll probably just usher him into the back of their van and try to calm him, try to rock the pain away with some sort of sedative, it’s alright, sir, the car’s a write off but you’re okay, one of them says, approaching, not knowing just how much those words will reignite the fountain of sorrow in this man; and there it is, he coos like an exotic bird, unable to get anything but infantile gasps out in response to this new reminder; I get up now, wiping the tears from my face—I’ve got to go; I’ve got to get out of this strange situation, I’ve become way too involved; I sort of skip away, a strange reactionary mode of movement not really chosen consciously, over to my discarded food to see if any has survived and luckily it has, the burger’s in the box still so I grab it and shoot off out of there, feeling like a flash-rape victim, feeling like something so odd has happened I’ll never be able to relay it to anyone in any decent, undisturbed fashion; as I go, the wailing of the man seems to echo off the street walls, my beautiful car! he’s crying, my beautiful, beautiful car and it’s all just too fucking much, so I start to run to escape it, I run and run, around corners and bends, down long streets and through alleys, until nothing remains but the echoes of memory, the uncomfortable feelings of having been heavily involved in one of the strangest scenes I can recall in my entire life; I push the burger down my throat, cry a little more and head for home, wanting only to make a cup of tea, sit down, read a book and forget this whole thing; but I can’t; I get to my house and everything’s changed, nothing is what it seemed like before—I’ve been defiled forever by my own unyielding compassion in a situation the universe decided to curve-ball to my arse when I least suspected it.
What the fuck!?