to live a poetic life...
This story does not have a happy ending. We were driving home late last night, having spent a delightful evening at Villa Augustus. We had attended a so-called ‘meeting’ between the evolutionary biologist Menno Schilthuizen and entomologist and author Aglaia Bouma. Normally I would have loved to have told you a lot more about that part of the evening, as it had been highly entertaining, enlightening and informative. Still wrapped up in my thoughts on all the interesting insects they had mentioned, I wasn’t paying too much attention to the last stretch of our ride. My husband was himself completely absorbed by the news on his phone. All of a sudden I noticed a flutter somewhere farther along the road. A startled glare in the headlights. As we came closer my body reacted before I could make sense of what my eyes saw, I gasped, my stomach turned and I cried out ‘no, oh no, there’s a hare, and he ……aarrgh.’ I could not find the words as tears trickled down my cheeks. I mumbled incoherently as I drove on. By now my husband realised something was up. He turned to me and asked me what was the matter. ‘A hare,’ I answered, ‘a hare and, and…..he was stuck, oh my god oh my god oh my god, he was stuck.….he tried to move away with his front paws, but he was stuck,’ I groaned. ‘Stop the car, we will turn, drive back and kill it, if needs be,’ my husband calmly replied. I did as he said: we drove back slowly and yes, I had not imagined it. There by the road side lay the hare, probably hit by a previous car. His lower half lame and stuck to the road. His eyes full of fear, conscious enough to know we were the danger, the front paws grappling to get away.
‘Drive,’ my husband commandeered. ‘I can’t, I’m sorry I can’t. I know I should but I can’t. You have to do it.’ I moaned. We changed seats and he did what had to be done. We drove, over his body, once twice three times to be sure, and checked, no movement, dead. Still.
We drove back in silence, or rather I sat sniffing, but not talking or if we did I can’t remember. Once we had parked the car I thanked my husband. We are born, we potter about, we die.