The boy got off the bus. His year in kindergarten was almost over. He could smell the birth of summer in the spring air. He was half a block away from his house, partway up a cross street. Kids went their way. Needing to cross the street, he stood on the curb, waiting for the bus to pass. That whole section of street was curved. But the bus went straight.
The huge, black wheels reached up onto the curb and grabbed his left foot, rolling over it and pulling it out into the street, under the bus. His right leg twisted up under him as he was pulled to the ground. His body was pushed tightly against the curb. The wheels on the back of the bus drove carelessly across his left leg, across the calf, the knee, the thigh, while the boy watched in an oddly detached but focused manner. There was no frame of reference for processing what he was seeing. There was a tremendous pressure that suddenly snapped into nothing. No feeling at all. The wheels of the bus hardly noticed him as they came off his leg, leaving him behind.
The bus didn’t stop.
Another boy looked back and saw the boy on the ground. He was looking at me. He paused, trying to find words. He said, “Did you get run over by the bus?” He laughed. It had to be a joke, right? I said, “Well, what do you think?” The laughing boy stopped laughing. A look of terror came onto his face. He ran screaming down the street to my house, “Dave’s been run over by the bus! Dave’s been run over by the bus!”
I tried to move my legs but I couldn’t. I reached out and touched my left leg. It was almost like it belonged to someone else. There were small rips spread over the fabric of my pants leg. I could see the tread marks of the tires, dusty imprints, on the dark material. Oddly enough, my right leg, twisted up under me, hurt more than my left.
A guy who had just gotten home from Vietnam heard the screaming and saw my mom running down the street. He said, “What’s going on?” Mom shouted, “David’s been hit by the bus.” My sister had died just a few months before. This was another nightmare. It was happening again. Mom thought I was dead. They ran to see me. When my mom saw I was alive she started weeping. The vet, his name was Blake, he picked me up and carried me to my house. No doctors were there to say, “Don’t move him!” He didn’t know any better. It was a kindness.
When I finally saw a doctor, he was stunned to find that my leg was not broken. It was “impossible” but true anyway. Still, I had no feeling in that leg. He said the reason I wasn’t feeling anything was because the nerves were all damaged, crushed. And it should have been permanent. But it wasn’t. All the feeling came back into my leg within a few days. They could not explain it.
My mom tells me my kindergarten self said something I don’t remember. I’m sure I said it though. She’s good about remembering these things.
Me: Mom, you know why I didn’t get killed by the bus?
Mom: Why’s that?
Me: The angels picked up the bus and kept it from being too heavy.
Mom: Oh yeah? And how do you know that?
Me: I saw them.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010