One Second [vol. 1, part 3]

February 6, 2007

Count.

One mississippi…

Stop.

One second, that’s all it took.

Count again.

One mississippi…. Stop.

So now that you have one second held in your mind, you know a lot can happen in that one second.  It was all I had to freeze myself in mid-step as I noticed my friend L’s eyes widen, her face forming to make a sound, her arm beginning to reach out to our friend P who was walking between us.

One second, I noticed all this and froze.

Now count another second, two mississippi… stop.

That was when I turned my head and simply stopped as the car drove past me, increasing speed without slowing down.  My foot which was frozen in mid-step was dangling in the air no farther than 6 inches from the door of the car. P stood still in surprise as L reached out and the sound escaped from her throat.  I did not understand what she said because I was not reading.

I was too busy taking it all in.  An old four door sedan from the 70’s with two passengers.  Barely 15 seconds earlier, the same car was stopped at the light with two other lanes of cars waiting for the light to turn green.  My friends and I were getting ready to jaywalk the street to head over to another bar.  It was a nice warm evening in the historic district of Savannah.  Without a care in the world.

And it all came down to one second.  One mississippi….stop.

It was all I could do to grin.  All my life I have experienced close calls like this one, my parents taught me to look both ways before crossing the street and we had looked, that is, 15 seconds ago.  A lot can change in 15 seconds, so it was all I needed, the look on my friend L’s face to realized something was different.  L kept looking at me the whole time through the next couple seconds or so because she noticed I knew right away.

When I looked back at her, she saw I was grinning and reached up showing with her index finger and thumb how close I was.  Slowly a look of relief and amusement filled her face as she realized how alert I was, how this must have been normal for me as she started to comment “Oh, man!”

See, if you can’t hear a car coming, if you can’t hear your own voice, that means you can’t hear anything at all, so all you have left to help you become aware of your surrounding are your eyes.

 So never take your eyes for granted.

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