_Escaped_Fragment_ mixed media illustration by Alison Wong

An _escaped_fragment_ is a work around that developers who build their websites in Javascript use to help SEO pros (that’d be me) create URLs that are indexable by Google. I could ask: why bother? Why not use some other language that already makes indexing URLs easy? But I’ve learned, at my advanced age and through experience hard won: People have their reasons.

When first I learned about the concept of an _Escaped_Fragment_ I got excited. The phrase stirs my sense of poetry because, really, our lives are nothing but a collection of escaped fragments. These fragments are things of incomparable beauty — a beauty so piercing that it brings you to your knees when you open your eyes and smell it.

When I was very young, around 16, I’d say, I created my very first escaped fragment. I was a dishwasher at the time at a restaurant, now long gone, in my home town. The second floor window where I washed dishes during the lunch shift overlooked a parking lot with a yellow matchbox-shaped Porsche that was parked there everyday. I decided to see if I could plant a fragment in my head and remember that Porsche forever. Well (We really miss you, Prince!), I’m here to tell you: Forever is a mighty long time. . .but I still do think of that Porsche. . .and now I know that it was, and always will be, an _escaped_fragment.

Here are some more:

An escaped fragment is the time you fell down in a field and found yourself face to face with a flower that had a bee in it. You’re not sure why, but the bee stopped and looked you in the eye so intently you forgot to be afraid.

Another time, you were making love with someone who loved you and you loved but still you felt free. The cat jumped on the bed and you shrieked and he shouted and then you laughed together for so long you felt weak and shaky afterwards.

It was the day you found out you had cancer.

It was your first breath and, yes, it was your last — taken from within a soft morphine cloud while you were surrounded by people who loved you, some of whom were on Skype, the iPads carefully propped up around you as you lay dying. There were fresh yellow daisies sitting witness on your antique bedside table, the one you purchased at the furniture show in Milan and had so much trouble shipping, but you didn’t see them.

Remember when you ate dirt and beat your chest? It was after they burned your village to the ground and there was nothing left.

It was also the time you went to Tiffany and picked out a diamond, and that other time you hit your first major league home run — bases loaded. And don’t forget the occasion you sat quietly by yourself, eating the first Thanksgiving meal after your divorce: one leg, a few green beans, a baked potato cut in half, too much fresh cranberry sauce with orange zest you made yourself because, hey, why not, and a glass of very nice red wine. Everything was really quiet and you had time to chew and watch the candles flicker.

Escaped fragments are all of that, and more.

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This article was originally published at annacolibri.com and republished here with permission from Anna Colibri.

I work to make the web a more beautiful, accessible, and functional place. I use dreams as a form of planning. And I play because it’s fun.