30 Day Writing Challenge Day 15: Write about a stranger you see. Either their back-story or what they are thinking in the moment you see them. This may be a little lame, but it was literally the only stranger I saw today. I wore sweats all day; I wasn’t going any further in public than in my car. I wrote what this person was thinking in the moment I saw her, but I also expanded it beyond that and created a little fictional scenario. Hope you like it even if it’s lame!
In Love and Christ,
I’m sitting at the red light waiting for a break in the traffic. All I need to do is turn left; why don’t they have an arrow here? What a stupid place not to have an arrow.
Minutes pass. It feels like hours, especially since in my mind’s eye I can see the angry faces of the endless line of drivers behind me. They’re probably muttering curses and groaning over the fact that they’re being held back from wherever it is they’re trying to go. I can hear it. They’re narrow minded, of course. They don’t know that it’s not my fault– there’s no arrow! What am I supposed to do without an arrow? All I’m able to do is sit here in my little car, totally dependent upon the mercy of some kind person in the opposite lane. Don’t they get it?
The light turns red. Great. Now all those people are groaning and cursing even louder because now they have to sit through yet another red light. And even though they’ve probably been stuck here waiting to turn left before, they don’t think about that. All they think about is the fact that I’m the reason they’re late for work/yoga/coffee/dinner. Turn green. Turn green.
My parents used to tell me that if I chanted “turn green” in pig latin, it would make the light turn green faster. “Urn-tay een-gray; urn-tay een-gray…”
It works! Quickly I step on the accelerator to make my move, only to slam on the brakes one moment later. The other guy was faster. Of course. Someone behind me honks unnecessarily. “What do you want me to do?” I shout, throwing my hands up, “There’s no arrow!”
I endure what feels like hours of unspoken pressure from the drivers behind me. I know they’re upset to be stuck here. The guy behind me in the massive truck keeps inching closer. I seriously think he just nudged my bumper. What’s he going to do– run over me? I don’t know. From the looks of his angry face in my rearview, he just might. Just in case I scoot my tiny car forward a little more. He swallows the space with his huge grill.
Swallowing a gulp, I turn to pleading with the cars in the opposite lane. Somebody save me! I’m going to be roadkill any minute if I don’t get to turn! Please! They all pass by as if they don’t see me.
The light turns yellow and I cringe. But then something miraculous happens. Instead of zooming through the yellow light, a man in a police car stops short and then… he waves me through! Yes! Victory! This stranger in uniform just saved my life! Smiling and waving like a lunatic, I make my turn. He nods at me as I pass.
Huge truck guy appears to be shaking his fist, but I don’t care. I made it through the intersection from Hades alive, and that is something to be thankful for. If I ever see that policeman again, I might just kiss him. And to think, I once thought all cops were jerks.
Suddenly something flashes in my rearview mirror. Courteous Policeman who just saved my life? What are you doing here?
I pull over and he parks his car behind mine. He approaches the window and knocks.
“Hi officer,” I say nervously.
“Hello,” he says as he scribbles on his pad, “License and registration?”
I dig them out and hand them over. “Thanks for waving me through just now. I’d been having a hard time.”
He looks at me over his sunglasses. “I wasn’t waving you through. I was telling you to pull over. Your inspection sticker is expired; that’s a ticket. Then the light turned red as you turned left. That’s another ticket.”
What? I’m speechless. I should have let truck guy turn me into roadkill! This is so much worse. Not so Courteous Policeman hands me a ticket that costs more than I make in a month, nods, walks back to his car and drives in the direction he came from. When he gets to the light, the jerk flips on his siren and turns left without ever having to wait.
Laying my head against the steering wheel I sigh. I guess I wasn’t meant to have a hero today– and I’m not counting on tomorrow either. I know one thing though: I’m never going back to that intersection.
Kharis Courtney ©2013