I drive back to the office with the smell of decomposition clinging to my clothes, my nose, and my mind. The sweltering heat of summer has come with a vengeance, bringing with it the tide of the dead. We are all mentally and physically exhausted, but the dead, mindless and faceless as toy soldiers, the dead keep marching toward us.
The sun is still up, and there are more dead on the horizon. I am hungry. I am tired. I am ready to hurl my truck keys across the street and walk back home, leaving the dead and their responsibilities behind. Instead, I take a quick detour through the city. In this land of concrete and steel, they are my cup of water in a desert.
The cost of these extra few minutes pays off as he ambles across my path. I roll down my window and the steady clip-clop of hooves enters. The big white horse patiently plods across the intersection towing smiling tourists. Flowers decorate his carriage. The young black man at the reins nods and waves as they pass. For a moment I forget the stench of death. There is nothing but the smell of that horse. The smile and wave of a stranger. The steadfast beat of solid feet, bringing me home. And as they pass, so too does the moment. I no longer have the urge to fling car keys blindly across the city and walk home.
I wheel slowly down the street and pass more carriage horses. They patiently wait. They patiently pull. And for today, they pull me back, and ground me once more.