On your drive home from work, through the velvet fog that looms halfway down the moss-laden trees, you pass a doe and wonder: what if? Your palms sweat. You wipe them, one at a time, on your jeans. You know you shouldn’t envy her foreseeable fate.
You see the look of fear in the deer’s eyes. You see yourself in that look. Depression often feels like that look. Standing on the edge of a highway, just one small step away from forever changing your life and everyone else’s. Your husband had that same faraway look long ago. Caught in the act. Not yet knowing that you would spinelessly pardon his infidelities.
The windshield wipers scrape against the glass, trying to rid itself of something that isn’t there anymore. Your drive a Monet blur of deep blues, greens, greys, and reds. You don’t drive straight home, you make a detour. A stillness settles within a tunnel of western hemlocks and Douglas firs.
The conclusion of your car exit a gasp in the hushed woods.
You spend your afternoon with your legs dangling off unevenly broken asphalt. A river changed courses, taking out everything in front of it: deep-rooted trees, homes, a road.
You drive home. Pull into your driveway. Husband gets home before you. Husband guts deer he hit on his way home. The eyes of the deer remain intact. They look right at you. They look directly into you. Her intestines drop to the asphalt in a splat.