He lumbered down the street, not noticing the cars speeding by him, not quite feeling the way his feet pressed into the asphalt, soft after a ninety degree morning. He didn’t notice the yellow dashes vanishing between his steps every so often until a mile had passed, then another. He didn’t see the traffic rushing so close to his body, or hear the drivers honking their horns or cursing out windows as they went by. All he saw was his hand, the one that had broken her, and where the ring used to fit on the second knuckle of his little finger. A gift she’d given him, and he’d lost it. Like a damn fool, he’d lost it.
Franklin didn’t think anyone was watching, really. Surprising, if only for the fact that he’d left his clothes scattered on the pavement behind him, leaving a trail that led to a lost soul, someone who didn’t matter anymore.
But they did see him, someone did. The trucker saw him as he looked up from the radio, a figure growing dangerously large between the bottom of his windshield and the crack in the glass about midway up. The driver saw this unknown, naked man as he tried to slow the vehicle, the screeching and tearing of rubber sounding like the combat of animals, until for a moment time stood still, and he was looking at a man with clear eyes, blue fading to green, holding his arms out at his sides. He’d stopped walking and just stood there as the truck collided into him and through him and stopped some distance beyond him. But the driver would always remember the words that mouth had formed right before it disappeared. He never told anyone. How could you have seen that, they’d ask. Be he knew what he saw. Right before the man in the road became a man no more, he’d looked right at him, and his mouth had formed words.
Thank you, he’d said.