October 29, 2009

Crashing Parallels

Not again! I look at the computer screen and see that it is frozen. Internet Explorer always does this to me. So it is time to go through the regular old routine: Control, alternate, delete. Those keys are depressed and the screen confirms what I already know… not responding.
The jarring noise of the squealing of brakes and the crack and crunch of metal and plastic suddenly snap me from the reality of cozy office room. I know instantly what has happened and I am amazed at how loud and clear I can hear the sound of air rushing out of tires and the shattering of glass. Shouts cause me to rise suddenly out of my chair and I clatter down my stairs to my front door, awkward in my padded slippers, to see with my own eyes what has happened.
Two cars that were once separate vehicles appear as one tangled and mangled hulk at the end of my street. Bystanders, appearing like rabbits darting out of the bushes all descend on the scene. A woman screams to anyone who will listen, “Please call an ambulance! Call the police! Please hurry he just had spinal surgery.” A disembodied voice calls out, “I already have.”
I stand at the threshold of my door wondering what to do next. I am trained in CPR and first aid. Do I go out to help? Would I be of any help? Do I have the courage to help? Seeing the throngs of people surrounding broken glass I close the door and wonder if I have done the right thing or the selfish thing.
Sirens approach.
The computer screen bears the message: Do you want to send an error message? I usually say no, but for some reason I press send. I am promptly thanked for my diligence in reporting the matter. Back to work now I tell myself.
But that feeling creeps in and I am suddenly back looking out the window. The steady cadence of red and blue lights fill the neighborhood. People are standing around looking red, dark blue, red, dark blue. The stretcher is being wheeled toward an unseen ambulance. Safety at last.

November 4, 2009

So this is how it ends? The lapping of the water on the side of the sailboat drowns out the sound of Heather's sobs. The faint glow of the setting sun creates gold flecks on the otherwise dark and choppy water. There is no glimmer of hope that land is near. No sounds of seagulls or the winking lights of a lighthouse. Doomed, Heather thought to herself, utterly doomed.

Heather, sitting tensely began to rack her brain to figure out exactly how this all transpired.

It had all started innocently enough last Saturday. Jim had asked her if she knew how to sail a boat. Haughtily, Heather had tossed her hair and said, "Of course I know how to sail! All Dennisons are born sailors."