Monday, September 27, 2010

paths colliding

I just had a pretty exciting weekend, and my weekends are full for all of October- I am actually using a planner to keep it all straight. This is totally exciting since I am a stay-at-home mom sharing her car with her husband in a city that is not incredibly pedestrian-friendly.

There was the Yo Gabba Gabba Live show, a fun day spent in Portland with my dudes, a marching band show, the season premier of Dexter! and all kinds of awesomeness, to be followed up by playground playdates, pumpkin carving and Halloween parties, apple picking with a new friend, the Fryeburg Fair, etc etc etc.

(So far this autumn is amazing.)

Yet, YET, among all this awesomeness I half-witnessed something that was greatly disturbing and that will always stick in my mind when I recall this weekend.

I saw a bicyclist get hit by a car in the Old Port.

**cue stomach churning**

Before I tell the story I'll first say that no one was hurt badly or killed.

Gabe, Liam and I had spent a couple hours on the East End, sitting in the grass first on the hill overlooking Casco Bay and then I chased after Liam while he explored dandelion puffs, rocks, dogs, and the scenery. He made a fast friend in an 18-month-old girl taking a walk with her dad. They followed each other, picked flowers for each other, took turns hopping and petting dogs. It was a gorgeous early autumn day in Portland- warm sun, cool breeze, puffy clouds. We headed closer to town for some ice cream and it was while we were walking down Commercial Street that we heard it.

It was a quick yell, echoing of surprise and distress, then a sickening plastic-crunching sound. I turned my head just in time to see a car screech to a halt and a bicycle flying into the air.

I froze, afraid to see A Body. You know, A Dead Body. I stood frozen in place in the sidewalk, a parked car blocking my view from the fallen bicyclist. My heart had stopped and my breath was stuck in my chest. One hand was holding Liam's, the other had traveled unknowingly to my mouth.

I couldn't move, couldn't look, afraid of seeing something I could not unsee.

Then, he popped up into the air. Literally. Like a jack-in-the-box, the bicyclist moved from the ground to his feet, unharmed. He shook it off. He held up his hands to show everyone, probably mostly the driver of the car, that he was ok. He checked out his bike, checked out the car, spoke calmly with the driver.

I almost threw up right there, partially because my mind was still in a dark place and partially from relief. Everyone in the immediate vicinity crowded around, wanting to help, and I just stood there until the ability to move returned to my frozen body.

Even though he was ok it took me a while to regain a regular breathing/ heartbeat pattern. I ate my ice cream in near-silence, staring at Liam's smooth face and the cleft in Gabe's chin. My cone was stale and the ice cream was too chocolatey. I watched the street through the shop window, wondering DID ANYONE KNOW? Did anyone else around there know that someone almost DIED on Commercial Street just five minutes prior? That you can't guarantee your own safety, your own little bubble of your silly little life?

Did anyone REALIZE??!

Now, three days later, I am able to NOT think about it. For the first day all I could see when my mind wandered was a bicycle flying into the air. I kept hearing that yell, and the sound of the bike hitting the car. I'm past that, back into the normal routine of my weekday life.

That doesn't mean I'm not saying a few extra prayers at night.