Close Call

November 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

By Jacqueline Austin

Yesterday I was driving in a hurry, down Music Street, into the morning sun.  Everything was bright and beautiful, and the street was surprisingly deserted, for morning rush hour.  I was struggling to find the house of someone I love, to pick him up and take him to the airport.  So I was driving a bit too fast and, every time I stopped at a light, checking my map (the GPS was broken) to make sure I wouldn’t turn in the wrong direction.

At the end of Music Street I ran through a yellow light, and, intent on getting around the corner, didn’t notice the short, middle aged man who was slowly crossing, legally, between the thick white lines on the glistening macadam.

The short man startled as my car roared toward him.  He threw up his hands, looking at me through my dirty windshield.  I swerved, and managed to miss him.

The other short, middle aged man, the one who last year, hit another person I love, hadn’t been as lucky.  That other man struck my other loved one at 25 miles an hour and dragged her 16 feet, under his car.  My loved one’s right cheekbone shattered, the bone fragments barely missing her eye.  Her fingernails and toenails were pulled off.  My loved one’s ribs were broken and her organs were crushed.  I was 300 miles away when I got the news.  My loved one, barely conscious, didn’t want to worry me.  She managed to mumble not to come, before she drifted into unconsciousness.

When I got to the hospital, my loved one’s head was the size of a pumpkin.  She cried tears of blood, to see me.  I stayed with her until I knew she would live.

So yesterday, that’s probably why I heard the body of the middle aged man crunch as my car hit him–though I didn’t hit him.  I saw his face, strangely peaceful for someone who was about to die, his gaze unaccusing though his arms and hands told a different story.  Why, then, do I find myself still hating the other short, middle aged man, who looked just like this one?

He wasn’t me?   So he didn’t deserve to be forgiven?

Copyright 2011 by Jacqueline Austin.  All rights reserved.

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