Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It still lives...

It was approximately 12:12 in the afternoon. I was in line, at the drive-thru, at McDonald's. Despite being broke as the worst joke, I gotta eat. I was smiling, singing along to the radio, thinking about *him*, when I heard one of my least favorite sounds.

I heard the sound that locked tires make against asphalt. You know, that sound you hear that causes you just pause, waiting to see if you hear the boom of a vehicle making contact with something solid. Today, I heard that boom.

I followed the sound of the screeching tires and looked up to see a vehicle crossing OBT traffic to land on the sidewalk; the butt of the vehicle hitting the tree on the sidewalk. A plume of smoke/dust rose from where the car ceased to move forward, and the impact of the car against the tree caused a flurry of white, tiny blooms to drift gracefully from the tree to the ground.

Shocked at having just witnessed an accident, I barely remembered the food I wanted to order, while the car in front of me promptly made a U-Turn and left. I pulled up to the window, my head still turned around toward the scene, and I crossed myself, as I always do whenever I see any intimation of an accident. I quickly recalled what food I wanted to order, and my smile was replaced with my jaw's clenching. Quickly, I had been reminded of how fragile life really is; of how one second everything can be as it was, and in the next, everything is determined to never be the same.

As I left the drive-thru, having to drive by the scene of the accident, I wondered, should I have called 911? Is there anything I can do? I was making my wide right out of the parking lot when I saw that blue minivan that was originally in front of me in the drive-thru. They had pulled across the street and the passengers were assisting the driver of the accident vehicle, who was standing outside on the sidewalk. I heard the welcome wail of sirens, and saw that 911 had already been notified.

Without realizing I was withholding air, I exhaled, thankful that everyone was okay, and that it wasn't that person's day to go. Like the accident that Christmas when our van crossed two lanes of moving traffic without being hit, I thanked God that the vehicle made it across three lanes of the Trail's traffic without even a scratch.

As I drove by, watching that vehicle sit so tranquilly under the sidewalk's tree, as if it was meant to be there, a greater thought prevailed: although life is fragile, humanity still exists. Although it may sit quietly in the shadows of everyday life, it simply waits for one of us to rediscover it, and use it for all its worth.

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