Because my night’s sleep had been restless, I allowed myself to hit the snooze on my alarm clock one time. This threw off my regimented morning routine, but I tried to compensate with less time in the shower and, Justice, my golden retriever, had to settle for a shortened walk. Still, when I got in my car, the clock said 7:16 and this irritated me because I always depart my garage between 7:10 and 7:15.
No song on the radio pleased me and the voices of the rambling morning hosts annoyed me, so I turned off the radio. I glanced at my cell phone to see who had just sent me an email, blowing a puff of air in disgust at the subject line.
“Hey, thanks a lot lady!” I yelled to a rear bumper. Agitated, I cursed the black minivan that cut me off and made it through the yellow light, causing me to get stuck at a red light. Everything seemed to be getting between me and the three briefs that needed to be filed today.
“No!” an instinctive, guttural plea escaped me. The sound of twisting metal amid a deafening squeal of rubber against concrete halted my mind’s previous mundane drivel.
One minute I was mentally flipping through the pile of work that waited on my desk ten miles away and in the next minute I was witnessing a horrific collision between two vehicles whose drivers, now possibly faced with life-changing consequences, just a minute prior were also occupied by mundane mental drivel.
My unrecognizable hands trembled as I fumbled my phone twice before dialing 9-1-1. The silence that followed the clamor disturbed me most of all.
I pulled on the mangled driver’s side door of the minivan – the same minivan I had cursed just minutes ago. Voices and sirens screamed behind me, as I heard footsteps approaching. Help was near but the bloodied woman’s face resting on the airbag compelled me to keep pulling, not heeding the voices urging me to step away. I glanced behind her and saw unoccupied infant car seats in the otherwise empty van. Had she already dropped off her children at daycare, or had she too been running late and asked her husband to drop them off instead?
Adrenaline took over and I ripped the door open creating a high pitched shriek that mimicked the one from minutes ago. “Ma’am, can you hear me?” I touched my fingers to her carotid artery and felt a faint pulse. “Help is here. What is your name? You are going to be fine. Everything is going to be just fine…”
Her eyes opened slightly and I kept talking to her, filling the time with mundane drivel, as the paramedics removed her from a blood soaked seat. I held her hand and, for once, didn’t mind that my pristinely pressed white oxford became stained.
I answered the officers’ questions: Miranda - I now know this to be the name of the driver who had cut me off - had proceeded through the yellow light and the white sedan sped from the left, barreling into her.
Miranda released my hand and whispered, “thank you, Ken,” as a blue-cloaked paramedic pushed her stretcher into the back of the ambulance.
I whispered back, “No, thank you,” to the closed ambulance door.
Still shaken, I walked toward my car – my undamaged car – and thanked God for all the times he intercedes and disturbs my plans. The blood on my shirt was not my own, it was not my time. My purpose today was to help Miranda or was her purpose to help me?
That night was another understandably restless one as I thought about the woman in the black minivan. When my alarm sounded, I hit the snooze twice. On this morning, I had two cups of coffee and Justice got an extra long walk.
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