I never saw the deer the way the driver did. If ever there was a more unfortunate meeting of flesh and steel, I had not seen it. The sudden deceleration in the bus driver’s futile attempt to prevent the collision, slid my sleeping head off the silken bloused shoulder of the woman sitting next to me. Trying to avoid my head from slamming into the upright tray table in front of me was just as futile. After the collision, though, I fared much better than the deer.
The streetlight flickered through the broken glass of the bus’s front windshield. The blood splotch near the base of window had smeared into a smiley-face that I thought had winked at me. I righted myself and helped pass back fellow passenger’s belongings that had slid beneath my feet. Unencouraged by our delay, I faced Helga beside me to find an expression of despair I might copy, but her face gleamed with glissandi in the hot night air.
Helga had introduced herself to me at the bus stop before we had left. We were both bound for Akron, Michigan. Helga was going to her sister’s second wedding. I just wanted an experience to write about. Looking down her face to the shoulder I had rested on for the past hour, I spotted a sizable drool stain inching toward her collar bone. Her matronly wisdom saw through the concern on my face in a reflection that sported a bemused and unconcerned face. Her handkerchief wiped away the excess moisture and my embarrassment along with it. Your subconscious is always more comfortable with strangers than you might expect.