Monday, April 2, 2007

The Carriage held but just Ourselves - And Immortality

A woman died this morning 50 yards from our house.

The crash woke me just before five o'clock. I heard the tires screeching just before impact, a horn blaring just after. I jumped out of bed to open the blinds, my first thought for my street-parked car. I heard our neighbor's door bang and saw him running down the street, toward a car totaled against a tree. Dr. DNB followed suit, but I lingered at our porch.

A second car had smashed into an electrical box. The street lights were out. The horn was still blaring.

Before the sirens were within earshot, the DNB had reached into the second car to begin compressions. There was a woman inside. It was an awkward angle, and I could only see his head and shoulder moving as he pushed his fist against her chest. He told me later that he checked and double-checked that she had no pulse; he wanted to believe that as soon as he touched her, she would rouse, annoyed by the intrusion.

The police arrived en force. I suspect this is because one of theirs was the driver of the first car. He was largely uninjured but in shock. The fire department sent two trucks; the intersection was shut down on all sides. When the ambulance arrived, the EMTs took over compressions for the DNB, until they were certain that their efforts were futile. She was gone.

The DNB walked slowly back to the house. In the darkness, I didn't notice that he was covered in her blood until he asked me to open the front door. He spent a long time at the sink.

At 4:30 this morning, Samaria Langford was a living being. Perhaps she was going to work, or maybe coming home. Maybe she was distracted, or just tired, when she ran the red light. Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me. Minutes later, her loved ones were going about their lives, unaware that she sat dead in a car.

We think we can control our lives. If we plan enough, if we're organized enough, if technology is advanced enough, then we can change courses. But in an instant, it all comes undone.

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