Dallas-Fortworth. It's a cold, winter afternoon.
The drawl is distinct, and the twang sharp. Quite different from the softer, more unobtrusive tones of the Pacific Northwest, but I’ve come to enjoy this tone over time as well.
The sight too is familiar. People are larger, and a little louder. Ten-gallon Stetson hats are on many heads, including the gentleman’s on my right.
His attire is typical. Clean, well pressed full-sleeved shirt, crease-free jeans, Stetson, and thick leather belt with a six-inch brass buckle (and an engraving of a rodeo). Sharp, polished cowboy boots.
There’s a tinkle, and he grabs his cell-phone from it’s raw-hide leather holster. As he drawls in to the phone, he tweaks his handlebar moustache, and a finger reveals a signet ring with a little cross engraved on it.
The Wild West is still alive, at least in spirit.
I couldn’t help but think that my thin frame, passionless beige trousers, thin-frame spectacles, small noodle lunch and laptop on lap made me a quintessential “girlie man” in these parts.
All it took was a moment
Monday evening, and I’m walking home from work. There’s a little street that I walk towards to cross. I see this kid (probably a freshman or sophomore) jogging towards the street. He runs across, without looking.
A car’s coming up the hill, at about 30 mph. Perhaps the driver doesn’t see the kid. He reacts too late and the brakes screech. It’s too late, and I hear a sickening thud, as the boy is hurled 3-4 feet across on to the sidewalk.
I run towards him. A lady on the other side of the street also run towards him. She gets there first.
“Are you alright?”
The driver of the car, an elderly gentleman, is also by the boy’s side, horrified. The lady calls 911.
I run across the road (carefully) as fast as I can to the hospital (it happened right in front) and call the medics. Then I run back.
The boy’s hood is soaked in blood, and there’s blood all over his face. “Will I make it? Call my brother!” he’s screaming.
The cops pull up. Within minutes the medics are there too. Nothing seems to be broken, but he cant move and his speech was becoming slurred. Still, they think he’ll be fine. A friend of his is already there, and she’s sniffing in worry. He’s lifted on to the stretcher and taken away.
The cops take our statements and contact information, and are gone.
It’s all taken a total of fifteen minutes. The road is clear again. Students continue to jog across the crossing. Nothing could ever have happened at that crossing fifteen minutes ago.