Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Body Under the Sheet

My encounter with Eric Simpson was only momentary. I was a driver slowly passing through an intersection on the outskirts of Durham and he was a body lying in the middle of the intersection.

I would not have known Eric to see him. All I saw were tennis-shoed feet showing out from under a white sheet. The covering was red-stained where his head lay and a pool of blood flowed out into the little, low places on the pavement.

Eric was 27 and a manager at a local Barnes and Noble. He was on his way to open the store early Tuesday morning when he was hit and killed. His coworkers described him as “likeable, talented, energetic, enthusiastic and happy-go-lucky.”

I’m sure that there are people who love (not loved) Eric…(you don’t stop loving people just because they’re gone) Those people went to bed last night with sad hearts and awake this morning in a world that, for the time being, is a little smaller than it was this time yesterday morning.

Life is fleeting is a cliché. The reality is not. I catch myself looking down the tunnel of life, and while I can’t see the headlight of the train yet, I can put my foot on a rail and distinctly feel the clack, clack, clack of its wheels.

When I saw Eric I had an overwhelming feeling to call the people I love and tell them that. So, I did. The reality of life is that in the next moment I might not be able to.

I don’t know what your belief system or life philosophy tells you, but mine tells me that you don’t get another ticket into the park. You’d better ride all the rides, see all the exhibits, and eat all the fair food you can.

Call the people you love today and say the magic words to them. And take a moment to remember Eric in a prayer.

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