September 18, 2009

Sixteen years, two months ago...

Following Excerpted from "Flashbacks: Marching Towards Midlife" - a work in progress...

July 1993

I was sitting in my hotel room catching up on whatever work needed doing when I got a call from my father-in-law. “Don’t be alarmed, don’t be upset, Peyton’s been run over by a car.”

Holy shit.

Turns out Megan had been shopping with the kids – Morgan (5), Brennan (3) and Peyton (10 months) -- and after an interminable wait behind an elderly and seemingly-medicated shopper at the checkout, she headed across the parking lot with Peyton in her arms and the other kids in tow. She noticed a car steering toward them and, through the windshield she saw, yes, that same elderly shopper. Sadly, the driver, for whatever reason, didn’t seem to notice Megan or the kids and plowed right into them. The car glanced off Morgan and bumped Megan, who, as she was going down to the pavement, lost hold of Peyton. Two thousand-plus pounds of automobile then ran over the baby right before Megan’s eyes (quite literally – she was prone on the pavement inches from the car).

The driver then meandered her car off through the parking lot before being chased down by, well, shit, quite-naturally-horrified onlookers. Megan and Peyton – tire marks across the latter's shirt and forehead – were quickly whisked away in an ambulance to nearby Potomac Elementary school where a helicopter landed to meet them. The older kids were left with a spinster pair who offered to bring them to their Grandma’s house, about a mile away. The helicopter took Peyton to Children’s, leaving a distraught Megan to rush to her parent’s place where, bursting in, she told them Peyton had been run over and might be dead. Mayhem ensued. And, in short order, all were knocked for a yet wilder loop when they realized that Morgan and Brennan hadn’t shown up yet. As it turns out ,they were quickly recovered back at the Safeway with the kind-hearted pair who, it turns out, for whatever reason, hadn’t yet budged.

Meanwhile, while all of this was happening, I was off playing trade negotiator in Switzerland, making the world safe for some or another sort of commerce or something or other.

By the time I got stateside – less than a day later and ever-so-ever-so-slightly keyed up – Peyton had been looked at, prodded, scoped and poked by the good folks at Children’s and dubbed “miracle baby” by the local media. Amazingly, other than a swollen and scratched forehead, bruised lungs and chest, and a slightly scraped and purplish foot, she was fine. Stunning. Truly. Thankfully.

As for the pharmaceutically enhanced near-octogenarian driver, she was dealt a meaningless fine for “failing to avoid colliding with a pedestrian” (or some such blather) and assessed a few points on her license (can I hear a resounding “what?”). Sixteen years since passed, I can only assume - and hope, and pray - that she’s no longer on the road.