Gina- A Short Story
Gina loved the way the wind felt blowing through her hair. She couldn’t remember feeling this calm in a very long time. She considered how she came to be standing here, under a large oak tree along the edge of a lake. Gina had no right to be calm.
It started like it always did, with a call from dispatch. A woman is thrown from the back of a motorcycle in a parking lot. That by itself would not warrant a paramedic and police, but when the woman fell off the bike, a car ran over her skull. Some witnesses nearby called 911, and Gina’s team arrived to do their jobs. They were able to get the woman onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. But Gina stayed behind. Something in the victim’s faces told her to stay outside and wait for someone to pick her up. It didn’t matter how she got home, but don’t get in the ambulance under any circumstances.
Gina can see the scene up ahead. People scrambled around a motorcycle and a car with its hood up, smoke spiraling from a cracked engine block. She knows how this scene will play out because she has done this job for five years. She has seen just about every type of injury imaginable. Nothing makes her cringe anymore as it used to when she first started. So Gina undoes her seatbelt as they approach the scene of the accident. She gets her hand around the handle and gets ready to jump out of the ambulance. Her blood warms up as the adrenaline starts her heart going. The job always seems to get her adrenaline up.
The ambulance comes to a hard stop, and the driver, her friend Coren, hops out. Gina does the same and scrambles towards the parting crowd of people. She always wonders why people are fascinated by the suffering of others. Human nature, perhaps. If only they had seen the things she has seen, they might not be so quick to watch. Gina makes it through the crowd and squats down next to Coren, who has already pulled up the victim’s shirt. He is pulling towels from a large bag at his side and placing them around the broken, bleeding skull of the woman on the ground.
Gina watches the woman’s eyes roll around in their sockets, looking for some comfort. Gina watches those eyes settle on her, and for just a moment, they seem to communicate. They seem to speak in some faraway place, far from the maddening crowd of rubberneckers and gawkers. The world seems to grow quiet, with only the sound of their breath hanging in the air. Gina can tell this woman is on her way out. She has seen that look before, and it never comes from those that maintain life. It is the look of someone running from the reaper. Gina panics as she realizes that she needs to try to save this woman. No matter what, this woman cannot die. So she looks over at Coren, who has already signaled for the gurney. The crowd has moved out of the way now. They seem to be aware that something terrible is happening. Gina helps her team move the woman onto the hardboard. And then they lift her onto the stretcher.
Gina is not sure why she does it, but she holds out a hand to the woman. Her fingertips skim across the broken skull with the mottled, bloody hair. And in that moment of touching, a thousand images run through Gina’s mind. She is everywhere at once. She can make out horrible images of disfigured children and horrifying crimes. And then she is in the gray space of a giant cloud floating over the most beautiful landscape she has ever seen. Lush green mountains roll out underneath her feet. And then she is back on the pavement, in a parking lot, at the scene of a terrible accident. They roll the woman into the back of the ambulance, and Gina’s teammates are staring at her in shock.
“Gina!” Coren yells. He looks angry and confused.
But she only stands there, catching one last glimpse of the woman and those wild eyes. And in that glimpse, she hears words. ‘Stay here. No matter what, stay here.’ Gina can only shake her head at Coren, who continues to beckon her forward.
“We have to go! Come on!” he says.
Gina backs up on her heels. Coren throws his hands in the air and closes the back door of the ambulance. The remaining paramedics get into the van, and it drives away, siren wailing. Gina notices that the crowd around her can only watch. And when they start to walk away, Gina puts her head in her hands and feels tears roll down her cheeks. She has no idea what has just happened to her or who that woman was. She only knows that she can’t move when she sees those eyes for the last time.
It startles Gina, as something exploded in the distance. She ran to where she could see the road up ahead and a large ball of flame shoot skyward. Two cars crumbled to the ground, and another caught fire nearby. She put her fist to her mouth and started towards the explosion at a run. And before she even got there, she knew. It was the ambulance that had exploded. She slowed to a walk and cried as hard as she had in a long time. Gina knew why she felt so sad. She knew that on this day, an angel died, and it had been her angel. It was her guardian, and now she would have to spend the rest of her life wondering where to walk. She was hoping that each crack in the pavement would not lead to oblivion.
Gina cried as the sound of police sirens wailed ever closer. She has never felt so sad in all her life.