My mother ran my father over when I was nine or ten years old. I was in the backseat at the time and I remember the unmistakably bump of car-over-body and for a moment it was almost worse—the car kept rolling backwards, my mother trying to jump over the middle console to get from the passenger’s seat to the driver’s seat, pulling the handbrake, ruining it, finally getting her foot on the pedal.
At least that’s how I remember it. My dad was trying to get into the driver’s seat but one of my brothers had parked their car too close. He couldn’t squeeze in. He told my mother to switch the car into neutral and he’d jump in as it rolled gently backwards.
Instead, he was sucked under. I watched his torso disappear under the car and there was that thump, that thud, that tremendous jerk. My mother screaming, swearing. Me, quiet and uncertain. Thinking he was probably dead, but maybe not knowing exactly what that would mean.
He wasn’t dead, turns out. He wasn’t even particularly hurt. In a moment of panic, my mother leapt out of the car and hooked him around the armpits and wrenched him to his feet.
Shit, he said. You ran me over.
You were supposed to jump in the fucking car!
Shit, Mom, one of my brothers said from the front porch. You just ran Dad over.
He was supposed to jump in the fucking car!
Today my mom came into my bedroom at seven in the morning. Come on and see two turkeys mating, she said.
I don’t know why, but as we stood at the door to the back porch and watched these turkeys perform their particular set of bird duties, I thought of my dad getting run over by that car. The thump. The noise. The way we all laughed about it later. The way he could have been killed, you know? I doubt many people get run over by cars and escape with nothing more than a bruise.
The turkeys, the car. Somehow related. Maybe they both took place in the spring.
photograph taken in Brooklyn, New York with a Yashica-D