Flashback: Intercession at the intersection

Evil thoughts flood my head even as my little feet pound the pavement. Thoughts that need to be exorcised(“the power of Christ commands you!”): pills, bridges, a tragic end to my 35th birthday. Tears well up in my eyes as I mentally shake my head (“No!”) and I want to run faster and away from my own self-hatred. I tell myself everyone would be happier without me. Then I remember my sainted friend, how he withered away before our eyes like a dying plant, how the fire in his green eyes went out, how heavily he leaned me on that last afternoon I saw him. I realized he would not be waiting to pull me out of bay waters or drug haze. No heaven for me. No reunion with my friend or my Nino or my Abuelito or my homeboy or any of the dead I pray to every Sunday. I want to drown out the evil thoughts but they are loud, as loud as the music in my ears, the joyous rhythms I can’t hear or feel.
Two cars sliding across the street towards the curb. Smoke. A young woman stumbles out of the gray car, her long curly hair falling over her face, as the curtain of blood from her head drapes forward. I run across the street. I reach for her, despite the fresh blood. My heart is pounding and all I can think is help her. I run to the other car, the frightened driver and passenger huddled over the smoking engine. “Can I have this towel?” I grab it off the driver’s seat, hand it to the woman, tell her to apply direct pressure to her wound. I rub her back, offer words of encouragement, rinse her hair with my bottled water.
The evil thoughts are gone. I want to help. I want to live.
God was there.

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