The sensation of not being able to turn away

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Life
Tags: , , ,

I’ll probably get chastised for posting this video, but it really haunts and intrigues me. Driving home from work one night, I saw this enormous ball of fire on the road. Something told me to get out my phone and video it. As I drive towards it, I finally realize it’s a couple of cars, smashed together burning intently. I never do this. I never film things like this. But something made me.

I get closer and closer and we’re all driving around it cautiously. The fire is intense. For some reason I was not able to turn away. I had to see what happened. As I approached the car, I’m two lanes over. The heat is coming right through my window. It negated my air conditioning in a flash.

And then, just when I come up along side it, something tells me to put my phone down. Unconsciously I oblige and then witness a sight that sticks with me almost every day. There’s a body in the car, on the passenger side. Belted in. It’s moving back and forth. There’s no way someone could still be alive in there. It had to be moving from the heat. But I swear I saw it clawing at the seat belt, rocking back and forth. Horns beeped behind me breaking me from the trance. I drive on.

I was certainly haunted by seeing such a gruesome sight. And yet I’m so intrigued as to why I felt I had to film it, and then stop at a particular time. I’m not a religious person, but it certainly felt like something outside the norm.
One person in that crash died that day. Traffic had them at a stop when another driver, not paying attention to the road, crashed into them with such a force the car burst into flames. The cars were interlocked and wouldn’t separate. The flames rose quickly and three out of four passengers were able to escape. But the fourth did not. The fourth one died while I watched.

I remind myself, ‘nothing bad every happens to a writer, it’s all material’. Great adage, but somehow doesn’t replace the sick feeling of not being able to turn away from human peril.

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