Nuri (October 2019, Week 2, Day 5)
Nuri was the only one who had seen it. The cute couples strolling, the joggers, the dog walkers, the students – not a single one of them had seen it, but she had. The symmetry of someone so invisible being the only one to see made her chuckle, in spite of the gravity of the moment. She had seen it, and she had acted. Now, sitting on the back step of the ambulance wrapped in a blanket only marginally thicker than the ones they gave out at the shelter, she waited and watched.
Some of the hubbub was dwindling. One ambulance had already screamed away, carrying someone very unfortunate off to the hospital. Nuri hadn’t gotten to see them on land. Hadn’t gotten to see how they were. She’d wanted to talk to them before anyone else arrived, though not knowing if she’d helped them survive or thwarted their attempt to die, what they’d had to say might have been hard to hear.
“You’re quite the hero.”
Nuri looked up and found herself flanked by two police officers. They were both smiling. Nuri shook her head. “Not a hero.” Her chattering teeth made it sound like she had a stutter again.
“I think the woman in that last ambulance might disagree with you.” The fleshier of the two officers reached into his back pocket and took out a notebook that was too small for his large hands. “What’s your name, hero?”
“Am I in trouble?”
“Not that I know of.” The officer’s smile widened. “Is there something you need to confess?”
Nuri pulled the blanket tighter, forming a cocoon with only her head left showing. She shook her head.
“Thank goodness. The paperwork for arresting heroes is mighty complicated. Now, what’s your name?”
“Can I just go?”
The other officer bent down so she was eye level with Nuri. “How will that lucky woman find you later if we don’t include your name in the report?”
“I don’t need her to find me. I don’t want any attention.”
“I think those camera crews have other ideas for you.”
Nuri followed the woman’s gaze and saw three news vans pulling up, blocking the ambulance.
“Look, Hero,” Officer fleshy pressed. “You give us your name and we’ll get you into the ambulance and on your way before those vultures have a chance to unload.”
“That’s it. My name is Nuri. Can we go now?”
Nuri watched as the two officers looked from her to the news vans. She wanted to run but could tell her legs wouldn’t have gotten her very far very fast. Waiting for people who held her fate in their hands was familiar and terrifying. After an eternal thirty seconds, Nuri heard the woman say, “I’ll go with her,” before she passed out.
“That was something of a sleep, Nuri Hero.”
Nuri’s eyes snapped open. She was the warmest she’d been in a long time, possibly forever, which was more disorienting than the almost familiar voice at the side of her head.