A body beside the roadside

By N.A. Booko

Pittsboro, NC – Several years ago, I was driving on byway 64, approximately two miles west of Pittsboro. It was before a by-pass was constructed. There was very little traffic and somehow, out of the corner of my eye, there in a low lying area and tall grass there appeared to be a body. It looked as if it could have been hit by a car and flung some distance. At that particular area, I couldn’t pull of or turn around. I dove down a piece, turned around and drove slowly back by. Now, from the new prospective it looked even more gruesome. I had no phone then. What to do? Go tell someone? What if it wasn’t a body? But if it was, it was my responsibility to report it.

road in between green tree under white clouds and blue sky
Photo by Bruno Ticianelli

It was not my first experience. Years before that, I was driving on a country road in upstate New York and approaching a small hill. I saw a shoe in the highway. Before I could think twice, there was a mangled bicycle to the side. Just beyond that, I could see a woman frantically running in my direction. Then the horror – there between me and the woman, on the side of the road was a child. Dead. Before I could stop my car, there was a third person running toward the accident; but, he was so drunk he could hardly stand. He had hit the child riding the bicycle.

Back to hyway 64. As I walked closer, I could see that it was a carpet, probably fell off a car or truck; but fell in such a way it looked like a body. A police car had stopped and asked what was going on. I was still shaken, but glad it was only a rug.

I live on the busy byway 64. Four lanes. Hundreds of cars whiz by per minute. My mailbox is on the side of this byway. Sometimes I stand for several minutes before daring to step those steps to the mailbox. At times, the gusts of air from the big trucks almost make me lose my balance. The ever present thought of what could happen. And with rush and speed, I hesitate to think just how long a body could lay by the roadside.