There I am bicycling with my university friend, returning from a fun and relaxing weekend camping on the beach. We are coasting downhill on our way back to the university. We come to a bend in the road and have to get off of our bikes. There is a line of cars and a group of bystanders blocking the way. As I walk with my bike in hand, I notice streams of blood flowing down the road, long elongated reddish fingers gleaming on the black asphalt. I have to step carefully over the rivulets of blood, raising my feet and lifting my bike as well. Up ahead following the rivulets slightly uphill to the source of the bleeding, there is this big puddle of blood next to a fallen motorcyclist. He still has his helmet on, his body is contorted in a terrible shape. His neck is obviously broken and he is no longer breathing. I can see his face through the visor which is slightly fogged up. On the side of the road, a man is screaming hysterically, walking around in circles. Apparently he is the driver of the car that killed the motorcyclist. He says he's a veteran of the Vietnam War. He screams something about killing all those innocent people in Vietnam, how Oh God he promised that he'd never kill anyone again, Oh God so how can this be happening to me? Why would God punish me like this, what am I going to do?! I have an urge to pause and stare and soak it all in. There's a smell of blood in the air and I'm curious what is going to happen to this poor hysterical man. I ignore my instincts and inner urge to offer empathic feelings, some words of comfort. But what is there to say? Instead, I quickly cycle away pretending that nothing unusual is happening. My friend and I don't even talk about it nor mention it ever again. I try to forget about it, bury it deep inside my memory so that I will never remember it again. After all these years, I cannot forget it. The memory comes back to me every once in awhile, each time more real than the time before. Sights and feelings become more vivid as the memory fades more and more into the past. (This is a true story which happened around 1977 or thereabouts).
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Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.
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