Sigma Tau Delta at JMU

Body Identification

Three metal gurneys lay side by side in the middle of the hospital morgue. Black plastic body bags cover three dead bodies. Standing in front of the gurneys where the bodies’ now pale-colored feet stick out, siblings Ivy and Dennis’s hearts beat at rapid paces staring at the covered humans. Ivy tightly grasps Dennis’s left hand as tears waterfall down her face.

“I…I can’t do this! Dennis, I can’t!” Ivy yells while wiping the tears from her cheeks with her left hand.

“We have to, Ivy. I know it’s difficult but we owe it to Bobby.” Dennis leans in and kisses Ivy on the forehead.

Dr. Martin stands by the body bag’s head side at the gurney furthest to the left. He stretches out the bottoms of his latex gloves and cracks his head side to side. Once he places his right hand on the zipper at the top of the bag, he slowly looks up to Ivy and Dennis at the opposite side of the gurney.

“Are you two ready to identify the body?” Dr. Martin asks in his baritone voice. Ivy and Dennis both sigh heavily.

“Yes,” Ivy and Dennis respond simultaneously. Dr. Martin slowly zips open the first bag. The first body is a young black man wearing a white bandana covered with splatters of blood, a red Robert Griffin III Redskins jersey, blue basketball shorts and a pair of white Jordan’s covered in drops of blood. Ivy clears her throat and turns to Dr. Martin.

“That’s not him,” Ivy says. Dr. Martin nods and moves to the second gurney and slowly zips open the second bag. The body of another young black man is shown with a large scar on the right side of his cheek. He’s wearing a black beanie on his head, a ripped-up light-blue V-neck, khaki shorts with ripped up pockets and lines of blood on the sides, and a pair of white Sperry’s covered in dirt and grass stains. Dennis takes a large gulp and looks to Dr. Martin.

“That isn’t him either,” Dennis tells Dr. Martin. More tears flow down Ivy’s cheeks.

“Look, we…we don’t…we don’t have to see this last one, it’s obviously Bobby. Let’s go, Dennis!” Ivy grabs Dennis’s hand and attempts to pull him away. He refuses to budge.

“Ivy, we have to stay,” Dennis tells his sister in a soft tone.

“Dennis, I don’t want to look at Bobby!” Ivy yells. “I don’t want to see him this way! What if he looks worse than the other two?” She looks at Dennis with her red eyes and mascara covered cheeks. Tears start to form in Dennis’s eyes.

“I don’t want to either, little sis,” Bobby responds. “But we need to confirm it. Go ahead, Dr. Martin.”

Dr. Martin nods and slowly pulls the zipper of the third body bag. The body of yet another black person shows. Looking more damaged than the other two, he has two black eyes, dried blood stains coming from his nostrils, and the entire top of his mouth has crooked and missing teeth. He’s wearing a red Washington Nationals baseball cap, a half-ripped orange t-shirt with three gunshots in his stomach, a pair of jeans with two gunshot wounds in the left leg, and a pair of ripped-up gray-colored Air Force Ones. Ivy covers her mouth and falls on her knees onto the gray-tiled floor and bends her face down crying. Dennis stares at the body with bloodshot eyes in a frozen stance. He clenches his right hand on his chest and fails to hold back his tears.

“That’s…that’s him! Bobby! Bobby…” Dennis slowly goes down on his knees and stares at the floor as his tears rainstorm onto the ground.

Galvani Street