A storm had blown through earlier in the day. Everything was wet and the house felt cold. Knowing I was going to cook dinner and spend an evening packing, I put on warm fleece pajama bottoms, the ones with snowflakes, I believe, and a long sleeve cotton tee. I had begun packing our pantry items. We only had just over a week left in the Colorado house and a pantry filled with food. As I was pulling food out to pack, I found even more to throw away. So I began my journey of toss and pack. The storm passed and the sun came back out to dry the patio and walkway. It was warm, but I didn’t bother changing back into summer clothing. I can wear PJs all year any time of day or night.
I had taken two trash bags outside to our trashcan and started dinner. It was close to 5pm. Rice was cooking and was at the point where I had turned the gas burner to simmer. I had plenty of time to load one more trash bag and take it outside. The moment I got to the trashcan outside, I heard a horrific crash. Looking up and outside the neighborhood on the main road, I saw a green bike down. Shit. It’s a motorcycle, I thought to myself. I know riders. My sister rides. I have many friends who ride. Motorcycle down doesn’t sit well with me.
I ran inside the house, grabbed my cell phone and slipped on a pair of shoes. As I dialed 911, I ran down the street.
When I got there, I realized it wasn’t a motorcycle. It was a dirt bike. And it wasn’t a man. Or a woman. It was two young boys. Both lying in the road. Both broken. Both bleeding. Broken.
I’ve debated whether or not to share everything I saw that day. And I decided not to share. I was disappointed in a few things, like people standing around not talking to the boys. The town employee smoking his cigarette several feet from the boys and me while we were on the ground next to the bike leaking gasoline. I was on the phone with 911, so I had clear instructions. I was able to talk to them both while we waited for help.
Once the helicopter took one and an ambulance took the other, I was able to shift my focus on the three boys who were with these two amazing young men. They were in shock. I told them I’d stay with them until their parents came. It was during one of the moments talking to those three boys when I noticed my shoes were wet. The grass I ran through, the grass on the side of the road, and the puddle near the boy I stayed with the longest while he was waiting for help had soaked my feet.
Much happened that day, including the harsh realization I had left dinner cooking in the oven and on the stove with children inside my house. Luckily, I was able to ask a neighbor for help.
Today, living in Arizona, I asked my daughter to grab me a pair of shoes before I took her to school. She brought me those shoes. I don’t think I’ve worn them since.
This morning, I put them on and thought of that day. I thought of these two boys. I was able to see them both at the hospital before we left Colorado. I am happy to say I know they are both doing well. They are both recovering. I know one has moved with his family to another state. They are all closer to family, love, and support. I saw a photo of him standing and walking recently. I sat in a room by myself with the biggest smile on my face looking at a still shot I wasn’t sure I’d ever see. The other has been through several surgeries and seems to be doing well. At least much better than when I last saw him. I hope they remain friends for life.
These boys and their families will live in my heart forever. They may not remember me. But I will always remember them. I wish them the best life has to offer. They are here. There was an awful chance they could not be here. But they are. I hope they do amazing things as they continue to grow.
Today, I’m wearing my dirty shoes. I could wash them. I could toss them out. But today, I will think of the amazing feats we all face each day. The strength these boys gave to me. The strength they gave to their families. The strength they have. It lives in these shoes. Today. For me.