The second car, equally as destroyed and crumpled as the first, had to be pulled out of a large step pyramid of wreckage, the specific makeup of which was impossible to discern. It was just metal and scrap that once held a logical shape covered with gleaming paint, enclosed a comfortable interior, and was an ordered conglomerations of glass, rubber and steel. Now, the fire had consumed everything it could and what was left was the raw frame and under layer that no one ever sees except in pictures and videos of automobile assembly lines. Even in those images there is order. This was chaos.
It took about a minute to cover the distance to the accident site. As we approached, it loomed larger and larger. The two semis that had been involved slowly gained their full height in our vision and the enormity of the scene took on a hard edge. Seeing a semi seemingly dwarfed by the rest of the wreckage brought the sheer magnitude of what I was seeing into sharp focus. I tried to breathe deeply; in, out, in out.
It was a Friday in March and the Spring was just trying to scrub the cold bleakness of Winter from the world. Cooler days would come back in a last-ditch attempt to keep Winter’s grip. But it would be without vigor as the inevitability of warmer weather made any real effort futile. Spring was going to win in the end anyway. It always did. The skies were clear and bright with the sunlight that had become decidedly more yellow and warm, promising the awakening that I liked so much about Spring when it wasn’t raining or gray as Springtime in Colorado often is.
I was not expecting to break down when Diane and I came to Home Depot, but I did. We were there to pick up wall hooks or shelving or some such minor item to fulfill an equally minor need. When it happened it felt strange, sudden, and utterly foreign in the moment. I had cried before; I wasn’t immune to feeling emotion. But there was the oddity of being in that place, so public, hard, and yet feeling such a surge of raw emotion was seismic in its duality.