But it really does. Tonight, it came at me in the gray-brown shape of a doe. Not running so much as appearing, already in motion, frozen in time, as I drove down a road bordered on one side by woods, farmland on the other. There is a snapshot of her lean, frantic, sprinting body burned into the left side of my brain. I don't remember hitting the brakes, only the sound of squealing tires, and the loud bang, not even an impact that you could feel, just a sound. And then she flew, who was never made to fly.
Meanwhile, my car.
You can see the ghost of her right rear leg where it wiped away the dirt on the bumper. She was dead by the time I reached her, for which I am grateful. I heard her companions in the woods, running away.
She was, in fact, my second deer. The first one survived our encounter with little more than a sore snout, and maybe a bruised ego, if deer are proud. It happened on my first day as a Fed Ex driver. I was out on my first training tour, driving back to the station along a mountain highway in Virginia, when a buck came galloping down the slope toward the road. I never thought I would hit him. My trainer never thought I would hit him. But somehow we were destined to meet, and I struck him on the nose with my side mirror. The thing I remember the most were his cartoon-like efforts to stop on the wet pavement just before we met, briefly, and barely hard enough to turn the mirror.
Tonight happened incredibly fast. From the moment I saw her to the moment of impact was probably less than a second. The suddeness of it has introduced a moment of hesitation into my movements. Not just driving. Even walking through the grocery store. I keep waiting for another deer to materialize in my beams, hurtling toward our mutual fate.