Monday, October 11, 2010


       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.

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