Not figuratively. Actually.
I died not two seconds ago. Ever been hit by a bus? Some poor bastards actually do and survive; if you're part of the club, you can empathize, right? No one should have to feel it, ever. But I did. Oh yes, I remember it quite clearly, too; feeling the metal sinking into my skin, hearing the sickening break of my own spine, tasting blood and vomit as it crept up my throat and projected out onto the gravelly street below. One moment I was lying on that same street, feeling the life ebb away from my mangled body, and the next I was looking at my own bloody mess, standing over it like another spectator.
It was an odd experience, to say the least.
What a shame. I'd just bought that backpack, to replace the old crappy one I'd carried around with me since grade school.
My school uniform looked so strange; a blue thing, dabbled with deep, deep red.
My plaid skirt was tattered.
I knelt down by my side, scrutinizing my face. My final expression was that of subtle shock, like I'd just found out I'd aced a test I thought I would flunk. I looked stupid.
Just my goddamn luck.
On closer inspection, I realized one of my shoes had flown off. I looked to my left, found it on the sidewalk. It looked pitiful.
Some business guy, real yuppie type, had given up trying to find a pulse and was now holding my head in his lap. He was crying real bad, even though he didn't know me. Probably because he didn't know me. Still, I felt bad for him. He started to cradle me like a baby, rocking back and forth with every plaintive sob.
I couldn't help myself; I put my hand tentatively on his shoulder, even though I was acutely aware that there was no plausible way he could've actually felt it there. Upon contact, my head felt like it exploded, and for a second, the yuppie looked like a shining star. Funnily enough, of all things, it reminded me of my friend Mel. My former friend I guess, now that I'm dead. She was into the occult: Wiccan type; real earthy; never got asked to the prom; cut down everybody else with sarcasm because she wasn't popular. You know. That kind of girl. I loved her to death. But anyway, she said she could see people's auras. I wrote it off as bullshit from day one… but maybe that was what the explosion was. Either way, man,was it beautiful.
Sorry. Just needed to remind myself.
He sat there, still cradling me. Even started brushing the choppy bangs out of my eyes. So black and shiny in life, my hair was now drenched in my own pouring blood. Should I be so apathetic to my own dead body? I guess not, but, it's hard to get much of a rise out of dying. It was a pathetic life when I was alive anyway.
Some soccer mom got on the phone, calling the cops, the hospital, the military, anybody, everybody; she had tears in her eyes, goopy mascara running down her cheeks. A real mess. Christ, these people were more upset than me.
The 7:30 bus to Harwich, Pennsylvania arrived on time that day. It arrived just in time to catch me as I fumbled with my backpack, oblivious to everything around me, stuck in cruise control and crossing the street. Maybe the bus driver didn't see me, or couldn't stop in time. Maybe there was a brake failure. Or maybe I'd been so goddamn stupid that I didn't hear someone crying out not to walk across. Who knew? However we'd gotten there, now there was a casualty. And I definitely wouldn't be making it to school.
My parents always did say I never paid enough attention.
Guess they were right.