We were driving down Park Blvd. to Washington and came to that horrible intersection that no one was ever meant to walk across, especially not without the little blinking white man's approval granting permission to walk between the wide margins of the cross walk. Never through the chains admonishing, "No Pedestrian Crossing Use Cross Walk."
A haggard, short, gray haired woman was crossing exactly there, exactly where she shouldn't. Even cars don't know when or how to cross this three or five way intersection; guest passengers are always alarmed when I drive at the green light because one of the other lights is red, but I've learned which ones belong to which lanes.
This woman walked.
A tiny blond girl wearing pink stood terrified, no one holding her hand. Stopped in the street, near the curb, but too far away at once.
The woman was ahead of her, pushing a pink stroller--the kind a child might use for her dollies, but which she used for a small infant. She reeled around and hit the girl so hard that the girl screamed and fell awkwardly to the ground, now also danglingfrom the woman's hand.
Justin rolled down his window and shouted, "That's not a cross walk!"
A Mustang flew by, but the other cars stopped in the intersection, letting the fierce and frightened motley crew tramp across the asphalt.
I do not know what stopped me from getting out of the car and grabbing the girl: fear of the traffic, holding my hands to my face in terror while my breakfast lurched, ridiculous American propriety that does not allow one American woman to rescue an American child from an American woman completely lost in her mind and the system and the drugs (just a guess).
We do not want children, but I would rescue that girl. She could sleep on our futon. With her sister too.
We watched, afraid and horrified, not knowing what to do. Would calling the police really help? The system doesn't really save children does it?
If I could save just one child....
"There's another stripper on its way," Justin said.
I saw a valedictorian, a doctor, a teacher... hope for the world dashed by a slapping hand that hit its mark and a speeding car that missed...
How do people get this way?
We drove onward and saw a happy family of three, holding hands and walking to the farmer's market. I grasp at that image without desire for having it; with hope for it growing and saving the world.