Cars and …


An ordinary night on an ordinary street.

Last night on my way home from the Y, I slowed my car down when I saw activity ahead. I stopped then saw a woman collapsed on the ground, the car that just hit her, its anguished driver and a crowd of onlookers. The woman’s daughter was crying hysterically. Another young woman worked her mobile phone. Men darted over to gawk at the women then ran back to the sidewalk. “It happened so fast.” “Goddamn.”

I had enough room to drive past, but it was dangerous with people meandering about. And there was something about the humanity of the situation that made me stay. I called 911 – already on their way –  and prayed.

The daughter stared at me with an expression that I could not read.  She seemed unreal and theatrical, but her mother lie on the ground, motionless. And she was very young. She embraced her mom to cries of “Don’t move her.” Then she moved away.

The cops and fire department came. A creepy pedestrian began circling my car, writing down my tag numbers. A fireman shouted at him. “Get out of the street.” The mother was stripped of her top and placed on the gurney. No one covered her. A young cop grabbed the daughter. She was crying, but staying away from the emergency crew. He pinned her arms behind her back. She screamed, “let me go” until he did. His grip reminded me of another young Inglewood police officer years ago. I was serving as a first aider at my church. A young woman attempted to commit suicide by taking a 1/2 bottle of aspirin. She was alone so I went with her to the hospital. The officer threatened her with a suicide charge while we were in the ambulance.

I feared the woman would go into shock, but I had nothing to offer. I’d given the spare beach towel that I keep for these kind of things away to a young woman at work. She’d tried to whisk around my car a few weeks ago and fell off.  Thank God, she was unhurt except for a scraped knee and hurt pride (teeny skirt, platform heels). My car was untouched. Her bike was not damaged. Public safety passed, slowed, shouted for me to get my car out of the street – fair enough – then moved on.

Last night, at  least three lives were altered. I will never forget the youngish driver. He was in agony and shock.

Another display of callous professionalism. Another display of impotence and lack of preparation.

No one may ever know or articulate the full truth of what happened. Was he distracted? Did she dart into traffic or arrogantly stride across, heedless? Was he driving angry? Were they simply unlucky?

Another day. The images will be in my mind for some time. And I will definitely keep the eye out for creepy stalker guy.



About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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