In the Road


At first, it looked like a car had simply stalled in the center turn lane, just an inconvenience on my drive home.  Then I saw another, at an angle to the first, and it became clear there’d been some kind of accident.  I sighed at the nuisance.

Then I saw the group of people huddled over something in the road between the two cars.  And the debris scattered around it.

And I found myself feeling guilty I’d assumed another human being was an “it.”

I wove my way around the accident, slowing down to make sure I didn’t endanger anyone else.  And I thought I heard someone yell, “Move!”  It unnerved me a bit; I wasn’t trying to gawk, I was trying to be careful.  But could I hold that against them?  They were likely under a lot more stress than I was.  I was driving away, safe and sound.  They were standing over … well, I had no idea what.

The scene faded in my rear view mirror, and then all the things I should have done flooded into me.  I should have asked if anyone needed help.  I should have called 911.  I should have done something more.  But what could I have done that the crowd behind me hadn’t done already?  And did I want to do it for the sake of the person in the road, or for my own conscience?

Of course, I could have not been bothered by this at all.  I could have rolled my eyes at the delay, barely spared a glance for what was going on, and continued on into the night.  So I guess there’s that.

I hope that person is all right.  I hope the panic of that scene was just momentary.  I hope I saw a pause, not an ending.

And I hope someone spares the same thoughts if that’s ever me lying there.

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