So Many Cars

So Many Cars

She stopped a block away, right in the middle of the street half-way through the crosswalk. The block – her block – was surrounded by police cars. She’d never seen so many of them in one place in real life. It looked like the set of an overdone made-for-TV movie. Some still had their flashing lights on, others were less demanding of attention. The blatant ones were oddly scattered about while the others were parked normally. She stood, rooted, trying to make sense of it.

“Miss? Are you ok?”

She heard the question as if it had floated over to her, not really grasping that there was a man standing at her side, or that he’d left his car running with the door open to come to her, or that she was still stuck in the intersection. When she’d left her house this morning, nothing seemed different. Breakfast tasted like breakfast, and Ms. Glatt had served it to her with a smile.

“She must be in some sort of shock.”

Another voice floated over to her, different from the first. Neither of the voices was familiar, and neither of them could possibly answer the only question she had – why were all those police cars there? No one she knew ever did anything against the law, and if they had started to today she doubted they’d have it in them to do something big enough to need all of these cars. They were pointing in every direction, all around her block.

“We need to get her out of the street.”

Another voice. Where all these voices were coming from was beyond her. Maybe there was a voice for every police car she could see. There were so many cars. Her father had been going out to his car that morning. He’d kissed her on the top of her head as she ate the oatmeal Ms. Glatt had made. She hadn’t stopped eating. She hadn’t looked up from her book. She just felt his kiss and knew she’d see him later, and the chapter she was on was so compelling.

“Maybe we should call 911.”

How many voices were there? Did any of them know why this was happening? Did any of them know her mother? She’d seen her mother last of all this morning, as she shrugged her backpack onto her shoulders before leaving for the day. “Be sure to come straight home” was how her mother had said goodbye that morning. How she’d said I love you without saying the actual words. Her mother would know why all the police cars were there. Perhaps one of the voices could ask her.

“Miss, I’m going to put my hand on your elbow and help you to the corner.”

The first voice was back and apparently had brought hands. She almost felt the hand on her elbow, and almost felt her legs following the voice. The hand, her elbow, and her legs were traveling closer to the police cars. Perhaps they’d find answers when they got there.

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