When I first started my current job, I had a 45 minute commute to work. The drive could get boring, and, as someone with frequently racing thoughts, my mind goes in some bizarre directions.

On my very first day of this new route, I noticed something on the side of the road as I was pulling onto an exit ramp. It was a recently dead raccoon, which had obviously been struck by a car or some other vehicle. Of course I felt pity for the poor beast – no creature deserves to die in such a gruesome fashion.

The following day, I noticed the carcass was still there. And the next day. And the next. Although, each day there was somewhat… less of the poor raccoon. I actually started looking for him as the indicator for the exit I needed to take.

As he was slowly pancake-ified, baked in the sun, and left to rot over the course of several days, becoming almost inrecognizable… I bestowed upon him a name. It seemed unfair that I saw him every day, but had nothing to call him. Thus, he became “Scraps.”

I was in a transitional phase in my life at that point, and was not having the “best time,” one could say. So I felt a weird, messed-up sort of kinship with Scraps. At times, I also felt as though I was constantly being worn away, run over again and again by the ruthless uncaring of outside forces. A little part of me gone each day, leaving a near unrecognizable mess, forgetting who I once was. I think that’s why his horrid, deformed corpse, eroding day after day, struck a chord with me, and stuck in my brain. I felt beaten. I also had really bad under-eye circles then, which one might say were “raccoon-like,” but I digress…

I still think about Scraps every now and then, a year and a half later. Not that I am constantly thinking of roadkill – it really takes up maybe 0.001% of my thoughts on a daily basis, maybe weekly – but I happened upon Scraps at a moment when I felt quite low. I don’t quite relate to a slowly-eroding raccoon carcass anymore, nor do I, as I aim to get my life in order, intend to let circumstances wear me down repeatedly until I am nothing but scraps of my former self.

And I hope that wherever Scraps is now, in whatever nocturnal afterlife he went off to, he’s happily digging through the trash.

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