I was headed onto 205N around 9:15pm last night. Out to satisfy a craving for frozen yogurt. Came up on the Glisan overpass intersection. There were police and emergency vehicles hovering near the bridge over the Maxx line, the road was blocked; this was a big deal. I was peering that way, trying to get an idea of what happened. Fatal motor vehicle accident seemed unlikely - no real chance to pick up speed in that busy area. Shooting? Yeah, that might have been it. And the Maxx was right below there. Could have been a suicide attempt.
In the middle of my curiosity, I saw two people hurrying up the side of the off-ramp - as if they'd hopped out of a car. A man and a woman; petite, with her hair tied up in a knot, light hoodie not enough for the cold. She had that gait . . . . not sure whether to walk or run, dreading and having to know all at the same time. The man was in loose-fitting clothes, cap, short sleeves. His fingertips rested lightly on the woman's back, his posture protective, long stride to keep up.
As they approached a policeman stepped forward. She tried to step around, he blocking her way, her hands on his chest, on tip-toe, craning her neck to see. A third man in a heavy hoodie and baseball cap stepped out from behind the flashing lights and towards the woman. They knew each other. Her posture asked a question. He put his hands on her shoulders as he replied. She half-turned, half-sagged, his arms wrapping her up and now keeping her standing as her shoulders shook.
The light had turned green. I had to go. But the tragedy of that moment seared into my happy mood. Death or injury - I don't know. But I had just witnessed the breaking of some terrible piece of news. A moment - difficult to take even in the quiet company of your own home, surrounded by friends - had been lived out in front of flashing lights and lines of stopped cars, and me.
Tears welled up and spilled over. I felt like the little girl again, struck by the thunderbolt of realization that my older sister - my hero - had slipped into a coma she wouldn't come out of. That scene out there wasn't my life, wasn't my grief, but it felt close enough.