Thursday, May 6, 2010

A World Come and Gone

Two nights ago: three police cars, one ambulance, and a lot of uniformed men stood between my walking desires and the Soviet grocery. The small group of onlookers moved restively to my right. I was afraid someone inside the Soviet had been robbed and hurt.

I wasn't there soon enough to see it as a narrative. Instead, someone had set a portmanteau on the ground and opened it, and a new world had popped out, an irregularly shaped cloud defined by red and blue lights.

Every responder's back was straight but not rigid; everyone's face was serious but not grim. They were having a consultation. Something had happened; it was serious enough but manageable, even routine. Still, my jar of fruit preserve and stalk of broccoli were not first.

Someone came out of the store, ponytail bouncing, and crossed through the cloud. I covered her like a guard in a basketball game. "Everything's cool," she said cheerily, and walked away in the dark.

I crossed that world but did not count in it. Ms. King, a store clerk from Jamaica, was watching everything from the front door, her face a mask. A man with a beer gut and a dirty shirt was demanding answers from somebody official.

Broccoli, cucumbers on sale, peach jam. I get in Ms. King's line to gossip. A woman was under arrest for stealing groceries. She was in an advanced stage of pregnancy.  I had a sense, unconfirmed, that this arrest was intervention, in more ways than one. The world I crossed as a ghost was under control.

When I came back outside, all the vehicles had departed. The lamentation was elsewhere, inside that portmanteau. Peace reigned on the street.


Gia's Spot said...

You can only feel sadness that a woman who is carrying a life has no food, no matter what her circumstances are, she chose life, the groceries for her baby and herself. Great "eyewitness" account, AnnT!

Bob G. said...

Yes, we have to ever vigilant for when that PEACE breaks out...
('Ya never know WHERE it may come

I do enjoy the manner you convey this have a command of the language I can only dream about.

Well done.

Slamdunk said...

Well written Ann T. The lives of first responders is always insighful--seeing so much that the rest of the public does not.

The Observer said...

Ann T:
What a way with words you have! You paint the picture so well--and add it to the gallery in the mind that we didn't even know was there. Here's a picture that came to the front of my mind gallery.

A summer's night last year, I returned home to find a patrol car blocking my driveway, and another parked in front of the neighbors. A domestic. I decided to just sit on the stoop and wait for it to end, so I could tuck my car away for the night. I watched as officers came and went, heard some yelling and strong words from a man and a woman. The man next door put clothes in a small Caddy. Which then proceeded not to start. More consultations and phone calls, a tiny bit of yelling. The man, still talking, trying to get in that last word had obviously been told to go elsewhere for the night, eventually found a ride. Everyone left.

The street sounds returned to their usual late night sounds of birds, bugs, and distant train whistles. I retrieved the car, and tucked it in for the night.

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear Gia,
Yes, I just think it's terrible for a pregnant mother to feel like she must steal food.

Whatever the cause--and,it might be any number of things, she has new opportunities now. To eat, to get care, to get into some form of the system.

Such desperation. I have been there. Although, not quite like this.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
It is amazing when that rightness fills the street. I am pretty spoiled by it--I have not always had it.

Thank you!
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
They do have an interesting life.

The view that seems to be missing for them is the happy piece--the part where ponytail girl says it's all okay, and I am glad to go buy my groceries, and somebody else got safely home during rush hour.

As always, thank you very much.
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
That is lovely.
I think you should cut and paste and put it on your blog, I really do!

Ann T.

Books of the World said...

Wow, such a powerful post. I truly hope that both she and her unborn get help. Great eyewittness report.

Momma Fargo said...

You rock in the writing department, lady! Loved this post. I felt like I was there. Maybe? :)

Ann T. said...

Dear Theresa,
You and Gia, compassionate people!
She gets a moment of decision, certainly. I hope she chooses well, and that arms and hands reach out.

Thanks for stopping by,
Ann T.

Dear Momma Fargo,
Thank you! I think I'm somewhat East of you, but I'm sure you've been there . . . many times.

Thanks a bunch!
Ann T.

The Bug said...

Definitely a well-told tale. I'm hoping too that she got the help she needed for her & her child.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Bug,
Thanks for stopping in.
Ann T.