What’s the worst thing you have ever seen?

Sometimes people ask me what the worst thing I’ve seen is. It’s not their fault, I’m pretty good at acting like nothing bothers me.

I see them, all of them.

I see the girl teetering on the edge of the bridge, see her face, see the anguish, the resolution, the despair just before she lets go. I see her crumpled body thirty feet below, still breathing, still holding on, still hoping. I see the look on her face when the body stops working, see the features relax when she stops breathing, see the lights go out when her heart stops beating.

I see the guy who rode his bike down Allens Avenue, see the oil truck turn the corner, see the bike go under, see the rear wheels crush his pelvis, see the pain from his broken body expressed in his eyes when he asks me if he is going to be okay, see the disappointment and resignation when I tell him no- before I even utter a word.

He sees too.

I see him, alone, at the x-rated book store, see his car with out of state plates, also alone in the deserted parking lot. I see his surprise when his heart hammers, and his pants are around his knees, and the left ventricle stops pumping. I see him try to pull his pants up, and see him fail, and see him fall face down on the filthy floor of the two-person “viewing room,” as gay porn plays in the closed video room all night. I see his picture on the ID, see his wedding ring, see his house, his wife, his kids and the lie that has ended this night.

They closed the place without checking the rooms. They didn’t see, and locked the doors on the dying, or dead man.

I see the stripper, overdosed in the ladies room, her pimply skin pale in the florescent light, hair on her legs, tracks on her arms. I see the illusion she could conjure, see it for the lie that it is now that her blood has stopped flowing, and the low lights and sultry music is gone, and its just her and the bathroom floor, empty bottles of mouthwash and condom wrappers.

I see a lot. I see too much. I’ve seen enough.

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