Saturday, September 25, 2010

Notes from above a shop window

It was 8am and I was in the shower when the girl was hit.

My boyfriend saw it all from the window. The day was dark and grey, roads slippery with rain.

The little girl was walking to school, the same as every morning. Neat in her school uniform, she waited until the traffic had slowed and stepped onto the crosswalk. A scooter stopped to let her pass.

What caught my boyfriend's eye was the car coming up behind the scooter.

It didn't seem to be slowing. The woman driving it had her head bent down, texting, or fiddling with her phone. By the time she looked up, it was too late.

She hit the brakes, but it didn't do much good. She rear-ended the scooter, and the scooter flew into the child.

These moments always seem to happen in slow motion. The sickening thud of contact, the small body spinning into the air, a messy twisted heap of child, backpack and scattered belongings. The scooter a mangled wreck.

I grabbed a woolen blanket, and ran down the stairs in my bathrobe and bare feet.

They had her lying on the wet concrete, dragged just off the road, to the curb. My first aid knowledge is pathetic, but I knew we had to keep her warm.

Her small pale face was smudged with blood. Big brave eyes, she was conscious. It was hard to tell where the blood was coming from. A panicky crowd had encircled her. Telling her not to move. I retreated.

The tow trucks got there first. The ambulance seemed to take eternity. They loaded her in on a stretcher much too big for that small body. The street resumed normal activity.