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Monday, April 21, 2014

A Day to Remember, Though Better Forgotten

Imagine: bright blue skies. Balmy temperatures. Joking with a friend about TARDISes and time travel. Four lanes of morning traffic by the university. And one man. 

A man in a dirty, faded black western-style shirt with white piping and buttons. Rumpled and worn black pants. Disheveled graying brown hair. Starvation thin. Hand raised as if to hold back traffic in a frantic dash across the road. Southbound lanes stop. Northbound traffic.... a large white SUV manages to slam on the brakes just in time. The gold Jeep SUV on the outside lane, coming from behind the white vehicle, unable to stop in time. The man taken down like a rag doll. Not like in the movies. Broken. 

Chaos. The girl in the Jeep stops immediately. People come from everywhere. I pull into the center lane, put on my flashers, dial 911, yell at them not to let him move. People coming from everywhere to help.

Even more people trying to gawk. Blocking traffic. Ogling. I put myself between the people on the ground helping the man and those who only want to nose in. "Move on,"I hear myself yelling. "Keep going! You're blocking traffic. Have some respect and MOVE."

I'm not much of a shield but I am there. This is not a circus. We are not in a zoo. MOVE. 

I feel like a joke. Standing there in my scrubs. Yelling at people. Phone pressed to my face as I pray for 911 to hurry up and answer. In my scrubs while the girl- the woman- that hit the man talks soothingly to the man. Holds her son's baby blanket to the wound on his head to try to stop the bleeding. Me. In my scrubs. Unable to help physically. Medically.

The manager from McDonald's is there, taking over traffic while I stand firmly in my spot. We nod at each other. Both of us silently defiant against the rubber-necked strangers that are looking for the gossip. The story. It's not their story. "You need to keep moving. GO," says the McDonald's manager to the cars. Shakes his head. 

It's a beautiful day and there's a man named Wayne on the ground. Wayne, confused, scared, and in pain. Liz, the woman, is doing beautifully. There's another man there crouched with them. Dark hair, dreds. Holds Wayne's hand when he reaches through the pain for someone, anyone, to bring stability to what must be an ocean of confusion. Liz looks up at me. I think her eyes are blue. They are wide, pupils tight with anxiety. "Thank you for staying," she says.

Wayne is homeless. Wayne is addicted to meth. For a moment in this terrible, terrible set of circumstances, Wayne is the most important, most cared for person on the face of the earth.

The police come. They take my information and let me go. I am three minutes from my house. 

I am home, holding my children. I am holding them close and loving them from the depth of my soul in a way that I have not done in a long time. 

The sky is clear and blue. The weather is balmy. My children's arms hold me tight and their voices chatter, chatter, chatter. It's a beautiful day. 


  1. Oh, no. SO sorry for you all! Any news on his condition?

    1. I have no idea. I think I might try to call the Med or whatever it's called to see if he's there.