The police car, with its lights on and the engine running. Why do they always leave the fucking engine running? The ambulance, one of those really big kind, from the fire department. No sound. That was the strangest thing. There weren't any sounds.
He was standing there on the sidewalk, in front of his house. I'd seen him before, a neighbor I knew, a boring looking man in his forties. We'd only ever exchanged smiles, no words. He was looking over the hill, away from me, waiting. He heard my shoes crunching on the gravel and turned toward me, making eye contact momentarily, when a van suddenly came up the hill just as I was crossing the street. I tried to get out of the way when it suddenly pulled over and parked. And that's when it happened.
She got out and ran towards him and they slammed into each other so hard I thought they'd collapse. Their faces buried in each other's shoulders, gasping and sobbing, a tangle of legs and arms, swaying back and forth, back and forth, their muffled words meant for no one else to hear but them.
I tried to move my legs faster but my own eyes began to well up and I couldn't see. I'm thinking, What the fuck, I don't even know these people. But it was the rawness of it. I was the guy walking his dog down the street after something just happened. I couldn't simply erase myself out of the moment, even if I wanted to. I was there for that terrible moment, and there was nothing I could say or do for them. But I felt it. I felt the death of whomever it was they lost, pouring out of that house and into those people, straight toward me like a knife slicing through all the bullshit each of us has built around ourselves.