Coming back from the barber's today, we came upon a serious, multiple car accident on Reynolda, just in front of the Burger King. Traffic slowed to a crawl, not in curiosity but in care, as two lanes merged to one to keep from hitting debris or, God forbid, a person. No rescue vehicles were in sight yet, but onlookers were helping those involved out of their vehicles, which were crumpled across both lanes, airbags deployed, one horn jammed so that it blasted nonstop. One woman's head was bleeding; we watched her struggle to the curb where she collapsed.
In the backseat of my car, both boys, who moments before had been gleefully discussing flavors of Dum-Dums, went suddenly very silent. A block further down we saw an ambulance struggling to get toward the scene. Then a block later, a police car. A block further still, a fire truck. When we finally came to a red light, I turned around in my seat to do a face check, to gauge the children. Both of them were looking down, holding hands across the empty seat in the middle.