I was stopped at a red light when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Two people, a guy and a girl, were stepping off the curb towards my car. The girl got to my door first and was reaching to open the passenger door. I opened it and turned down my radio to ask her if she needed a ride somewhere.
I could now a get a clear look at her. I realized her face was in distress. Did I just volunteer to pick up a crazy person?
The guy was standing directly behind her, and looking like he wanted to say something. The girl was small, standing at an odd angle, her body language nearly pushing the guy away from her. Her face was too pretty to be in tears.
“Yes, can you give me a ride? Just to the mall, please! In front of Nordstrom’s please, that’s all I ask.”
I had cleared the seat for her before she’d even finished speaking. The guy grabbed her arm. He started to push my door closed, but both she and I fought to keep the door open. The light turned green.
“Please just let me GO. THE LIGHT IS GREEEEN. Leet me go. Why are you doing this?! You hit me!”
“Everything is fine. She’s just acting a little crazy”, he said as he shut my door.
The light turned red again.
“I can give you a ride if you really need it. Just get in the car, he can’t stop you.”
He was now in front of her, with his back to me. He forced her to walk backward to the sidewalk. He made her sit on a bench.
“What are you doing!? Why’d you run out into the street?”
The light turned green again.
I pushed the door open again and said, “I’ll be right here, my store is still open. The mall is safe.”
He turned away from her and walked up to grab the door.
“You can just go on now, she’s not going to take a fucking ride with you, buddy.”
He slammed my door shut.
The light was red again.
“Why’d you push me?!”
My left ear went deaf again. I could only hear a high-pitched squealing. I ignored the couple as I sat with my gear in park. I stayed though.
I sat through two more cycles of the signal. It was red when a car finally pulled up behind me.
The girl got up from the bench. Arms crossed, shoulders hunched forward, head looking down. He stood beside her and put his arms around her. Then they started walking away. My light turned green.
When I take a step back from events in my life they seem like fiction. When I revisit something I hardly remember writing – let alone experiencing – I feel like a bystander.