We were driving on a long flat road when it happened, one of those stretches between strip malls where trees border the horizon and the next streetlight is hiding beneath the crest of the hill in the distance.
It was one of those slow-motion moments that unfolds before you realize it's begun, all disorganized in its recollection -- I remember feeling the thud first, then I saw the bird flying low into the far side of the hood, then my friend behind the wheel jerked his head.
Only after that do I remember the long spreading of the bird's body -- one wing over the hood, gray and white striped, then it wheeled down until I could see the other unfurling over the windshield past me. And then it was gone and we were shooting down the road again, my friend peering into the rearview mirror.
"And that's the second time in my life I've ever hit something that died," he said.
Damn. I'd hoped it had only been clipped. I turned back, trying to find its body through the back window before looking at him again.
"What was the first?"
"I didn't tell you? The rabbit?"
"What rabbit? No. When was this? What happened?"
"I told you that story already."
"You've told me a lot of stories. I don't remember the rabbit."
"No. Now tell me what happened," I insisted.
He stared off into the distance. I thought he was gathering his thoughts. He braked at the streetlight and turned back to my waiting gaze.
"Well, I hit a rabbit."