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.