Thursday, October 18, 2007

red light, green light

Something happened today that I wanted to tell the three of you about, but I just can't think of what it was right now.

What was it...what was it? Hmm....

[scratches head]

Oh, wait! Now I remember! I saw somebody get hit by a car.

I was driving to the Y for a workout when, at the intersection I was approaching, a car turned the corner and went smack into a woman crossing the street. It really was like in the movies. She went up onto the hood, kind of flipped over, and then landed face down on the ground. Throughout the sequence, she seemed somehow inanimate--like a mannequin prop that was being used for this scene while the starlet hung out in her trailer smoking a cigarette.

Amazingly, the woman got right up and kept walking, with what looked like a smile on her face. I called 911 and circled around the block to get back to her as I was relating the incident to the dispatcher.

In characteristic fashion, I could describe the woman pretty well (blond hair tied back, a thin scarf, blue jeans) but was hazy on the details of the vehicle. ("It was black," I said. "And big.")

I found the woman and the driver in the parking lot of Bojangles, along with another witness who had also called 911. The woman, whose name was Lee Ann, seemed only slightly banged up, considering; the only apparent injuries were a couple of bruised knees and a bruised wrist (though she acknowledged that she was pumped with adrenaline and might not be able to assess the damage accurately right at that moment).

The four of us waited there, for about 20 minutes, until a policewoman showed up. The whole thing was kind of awkward. The guy who had hit Lee Ann kept saying, "Like I said, I'm real sorry. I just didn't see you." And Lee Ann didn't really know how to respond, which I could totally get. On the one hand, he really hadn't seen her, and was genuinely apologetic. On the other hand, he had hit her with his fucking car, and didn't really seem apologetic enough. I kind of alternated--as I imagined Lee Ann was doing--between trying to put him at ease and silently condemning his character (the baseness of which seemed inextricably linked to the awful polyester shirt and shiny dress pants he was wearing, and also the fact that he was driving a Ford Excursion, even though I hadn't been able to identify it as such minutes earlier), and then going back to thinking, But it was an accident after all.

I gave the policewoman my contact information and account of what happened, made sure Lee Ann wasn't just being polite and really didn't want me to wait with her until her boyfriend showed up, and then took off to pick up Ezra at school. It wasn't until then that I realized I was pretty shaken. My limbs felt kind of rubbery. I started to shiver a bit. I teared up. The sequence kept replaying itself in my mind: Smack. Flip. Fall to the ground.

After I greeted Ezra in the doorway of his school, I insisted on grabbing his hand, even though he doesn't like to walk with me this way. And then I held on extra tight--to protect him, to comfort myself--as we crossed the streets on the way back to the car.


family-of-five said...

two or three weeks ago a woman was crossing the high street in our neighborhood--where I go to the hardware store, the bookstore, and get money--when she was clipped by a bus and thrown under the wheels of a passing truck. she died.

I didn't see it, but there was no mistaking that something major happened. the street was closed all morning and 1/2 the afternoon. I fully sat my kids down and talked to them about it, trying to impress on them, once again, how careful they have to be crossing the street here.

nejyerf said...

i would totally be replaying the horror of seeing that in my head all day.

i can't believe she got up and walked away.

my mother tells the story of when i was just a wee little girl, i saw my dad pulling out of our driveway and hitting a guy on a motorcycle.

she said i stood there and shook all over. i don't remember it but i'm sure it must have scarred my psyche is some way.

i can't imagine what it must have been like to be an adult and see something like that.