Excuse me, Deer
Ever believe in convergence? Just when things seem quiet and habitual, a group of occurrences comes along to deliver you from the usual.
The plan was common: take First Street to Genoa; drop Teal off at ballet; and complete the circle back to Sycamore/DeKalb via Route 23. After dinner we took note of the sunset. There was one of those vast split skies with a heavy ceiling of ominous dark blue and a bright sun cutting through the middle, making a drenched landscape shimmer. If there had been a high wind, we would have been on the watch for tornadoes. Teal resisted playing piano before dance but got into it anyhow. Running late, Ete and Teal got into the car and left in a drizzling rain.
"You just sit and relax," was what Ete had said to me. I had spent the last few days rebuilding a network server after making a fatal decision and pushing the wrong button completely wiping out a whole array of hard drives. This wrong turn had taken me out of a complacency that had been latent for some time. Watching CNBC, they kept going on about the boring Oscar ceremony this year, comparing the lobbying for films to the upcoming presidential election.
I was sitting pleasantly unfazed, and postponed going down to the cellar and picking out a good bottle of wine. There was some sense of preparedness in my mind; but I was not sure what I should be ready for or how I might be needed. A half hour must have passed. I finally got out of the chair, descended the stairs and came up with a prize. As soon as I heard the sound of the cork pop, the phone rang. Teal's at dance, I thought, don't her friends know that by now?
I hit a deer! I'm just outside of Genoa on what is it? Route 64,
you OK, dear?" I asked again through the slit in her driver's side
door window. She could not open the window any further.
you drive it?" I asked through the same slit she must have passed
her license and insurance card through. She was remarkably confident.
The bottle of 1995 Pomerol was waiting there open but untouched on the counter. We sat and quietly sipped. It was an especially good bottle. Then a few moments later we returned to the country roads to pick up our daughter.
On the way back out we passed the scene of the accident. It was not a simple scene. They had cleaned things up a bit, but the highway was still strewn with remains of the deer. A mere half of the carcass was in the ditch off to one side. We could not understand how the whole side of the car had been smashed in, while the deer appeared to be split in half.
her mother's story, Teal was viewing the country roads with wide, doe
eyes. I turned to look at her in the back seat as the headlights of an
oncoming car reflected in her eyes. Teal insisted on helping me drive
from back there. She asked to go back the way we came, but Ete was not
inclined. Let's just go home. Approaching the garage, Teal looked over
the red car closer than we had and seemed to glean quiet lessons from
its dents and curves.
That night I woke up again at 4:30am. The answer had come to me based on scattered pieces of the story and our sympathy for the deer: the two cars were approaching from a distance. There was only a split second for a decision and the pregnant doe dashed. Leaping forward, the window closed as her chest hit the front crunching the quarter panel and knocking the wheel out of alignment. She was just about to go over the hood of the car when the oncoming car hit her hind quarter sending her crashing into both doors, sealing the driver in. At least half a mile apart by the time they stopped, one driver heading north, the other south, they had divided and been divided by a deer. She kept saying that no one stops anymore.
This is my report.