On The Highway
Poe Maxwell, Victoria, Australia
A simple encounter, respectful and heartfelt. A ghostly visit, true but not of the usual type. No screams or hairs standing on their ends instead we were part of the departure, there at the time when his spirit moved unexpectantly from his body, into the invisible world on the highway on which we were travelling.
We were returning to the coast after dark on a Sunday night. The Geelong Highway had always felt empty and desolate to me even when streaming with cars commanding: 'it will be good to be off this road' feeling. May be it was the accidents that weren't uncommon on this road, the bleak landscape either side, who knows.
Sunday traffic returning home suddenly began to crawl. What up? we wondered, accident for sure. Slowly, slowly we drive in line. Police car and flashing lights ahead. We spoke quietly to each other, my friend and I. 'Whats going on?' Booze bus?. Flash light and a waving arm calls us ahead. A silent beauty resides outside the car. 'Look on the ground'. my friend points. We see a blanket has been placed over a body lying in the other lane, hard surface. No sign of a car accident, no car smashed up, only the cop car. "How does a person end up on the highway like that. 'Poor bloke', we say. The police at not standing near this body. 'A lonely death', we feel this but say nothing. We crawl on, the police wear green strips on their jackets that glow in the dark. We are allowed to witness this scene. Last respects, a convoy of mourners along the highway.
We pass the motionless man under the blanket alone on the hard surface. We know it is a man. Then without the onset of grief tears pour from my eyes. He feels confused and wonders where he is. He passes through me, he's not sure where he is going or what happened. His 'voice' speaks to me: I had a thing to do, I was going somewhere tonight, plans are now unraveled, who was I supposed to meet, are you me?'
Did you feel that?' my friend says. 'It was him wasn't it? He passed through me.' 'Me too.' The traffic speeds up and we are off again, travelling along the highway.
Don't look back to where your body lays, go with grace into a better place far away. True, the tears I shed were your confusion and disbelief. But we have thought of you often, my friend and me, and wished you had not died that way, alone on the highway.