I’ve seen many things on my runs, but a couple of weeks ago I saw something that disturbed me quite a bit. A dead woman, lying face-down on a busy street.
I was wrapping up a 5 mile run, running through an uncomfortable cramp, and was just about a mile away from home. At this point in the run, I had the option to continue straight home or take a small detour that would add on a little to the run. I was still wavering between the two when I saw the police lights. I like to think I just wanted to extend my run for the sake of enjoyment; but the truth is I was hurting, and I wanted to get home. But police lights drive a morbid curiosity in most people; everyone wants to see the gruesome crash or what be it. I think it’s sort of an ego-booster, on the deepest level- it’s taking in what could have happened to you, but didn’t.
Well, whatever the philosophical reason for it, I took the detour. And as I ran past the police cars that were stopping traffic on the major road, I glanced at what was causing the commotion. A young woman, lying on the ground. Not moving. A man being led away. It took me a second or two to take in that she was dead. And it hit me hard. Let me tell you, the cramp bothered me no more the rest of the way home. My first coherent thought was, “For God’s sake, take her off the street.” I found it disgraceful that they left her, lying face-down on that dirty street, with not even a sheet covering her. After I looked, I quickly turned my head away, closed my eyes tightly, and had to resist the sudden urge to vomit. It was as though I was trying to wipe the image from my mind. But the image of that young girl in the hoodie lying in the street will never leave me.
I took the detour because I wanted to see something wrecked, something interesting. It sounds wrong, and it is. But the morbid curiosity is in us all. Well, that curiosity was satisfied, to say the least. I regret taking that detour; I can’t say it all ended well, I learned a lesson, or something like that. All I did was witness a very disturbing and personal scene. But running has brought me to places like that. I once ran past a couple mourning a lost pet outside an animal hospital, as another example. Running takes us many places and to many sights; mostly mundane, sometimes interesting, and occasionally, as was this time, sad. A glimpse into the greater picture of humanity.