Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Accident

A couple of Tuesday mornings ago we left kind of late for school. CMC is on the other side of the city in comparison to ICS, so we have a long drive. Abiy was rushing, shaking back his jacket sleeve to check his watch every five minutes, and muttering incomprehensibly under his breath. He normally drives very safely considering the way people drive here, but on Tuesday he was driving fast, honking more aggressively at the people trying to walk across the street, and swerving from lane to lane to weave through the cars ahead of us. He really wanted to get us there before school started at 8 a.m.

About half way there the traffic behind one stoplight was a bit heavier than usual. After waiting through two lights we were finally at the front and able to see what was slowing us down. I was kind of waiting for this to happen, not hopefully or expectantly, but considering the way people drive here, it’s inevitable. I’m surprised that it took me an entire month to witness the scene of my first serious accident. At least I didn’t have to watch it happen.

There had been a taxi van going in the direction we were heading in, and a huge olive green military truck coming in the lane perpendicular to it. The truck had smashed into the driver side of the van so hard that it was twisted and mangled like cars you see in the driver’s ed videos. Red Asphalt I believe the series is called. Anyhow, shards of broken glass lay on the concrete surrounding the van, marinating in pools of blood. I wanted to cry. I couldn’t help but think of the person driving the van. And were there any passengers? Speeding down the road the way taxis do, Ethiopian music blasting in your ears, and then out of the corner of your eye something large looming towards you. You turned your head and looked death head on, a monster of a truck hurtling straight towards you. Did you scream, or were you so scared that you couldn’t do anything? Did you say a fast prayer, or were you too focused on slamming on the acceleration to try to avoid the truck? Did you think of your wife or child or mother? They’re thinking about you. It’s not fair, it was so random, so pointless. It was just another day trying to get by, but for some reason…

After that Abiy drove much more carefully. At first I wanted to tell him to go faster because we actually would be late, but I realized that I couldn’t. It shocked him as well, and when we were sitting in the idling car observing the scene and waiting for the light to turn green, he quickly closed his eyes and crossed himself. For about two hours every day we are giving him our lives, and there is no greater responsibility in the world than controlling the fate of others’ lives. We arrived at school around 7:55 a.m.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

hey samri!! i miss you beezy, when do you come home??