Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Does this End Justify the Mean, Median or Mode?

I pass it at least four times a day. An ordinary intersection. Before. It's been a week now. The memorial on the median is no longer shocking in its newness, no longer attracts stares from every passing vehicle. It has become just another place marker on the roads.
One week tonight.
One week.
I passed there a few hours ago. It was still daylight, much safer for driving than twilight or full dark. Does not matter. There, it is full dark. A gathering to mark the anniversary night. Vehicles formed a protective wagon train around it. Adults and teens, holding their obols, flowers, stuffies, stood there or knelt on the damp ground. How appropriate that the ground be damp. If it was not so before, they would make so now. They freshen the markers and add new ones. It is a public mourning, a warning. The grave sites are private and warn only Ophelia, who wanders the cemetery wearing a flower wreath. She will have no wedding, nor will they.
I am selfish, relieved, grateful. It is not my child there. I am spared this grief. For tonight. My daughter drives past here, too. She knew them. They all seem to know each other here. It is a small, small world. The three teenagers killed in a high-speed spinout went to school with her or her friends. I count my blessings tonight and cross my fingers. She's not home yet and her cellphone goes to voicemail. I try not to stare at the clock.
What a waste. Young promise. Still in diapers, I mean high school. I think of my own recent brush. If I'd turned over, as they did, I'd be dead. But I have lived, done things, will leave a memory or two beyond myself and my immediate world. Their memorial is a warning and will be gone in a few months. The next group of children will speed past it, too happy to notice the slickness of the road, the shredded pink silk cross, the grass grown over the skidmarks. Who will remember them except for their own? Is that enough?
They had no chisel, no sandpaper to hone their granite. The inscriber is a stranger for hire. He is given a short story to work from, not a novel, not an epic.
And that is wrong.

1 comment:

zoesmomdebbie said...

how sad that youth, in its newness, is snuffed out by something as Plebian as a car.