Countless lives meet one another at this busy intersection everyday. Some are aware but most of the time, nobody even gives a second glance at things. And in a matter of minutes, three lives intertwine as the traffic lights change.
Nothing is boring with Pete’s day. He wakes up early in the morning to prepare the kids’ meals and prep them for the school bus. After kissing his wife on the forehead, he reads the morning paper and sees how the stocks are doing. If it’s a bust, he lets out a sigh and if it’s looking good, he takes another sip of his coffee and nods his head like he always does.
That is a good start to the day for Pete. And it does help that his work in local government is never dull. He gets to meet exciting people every time as well as go to different places on a regular basis. But right now, he’s on leave for a week.
“Time to take a breather” he said to his wife when she asked him about his long leave.
And while he waited for the kids at work, Pete was looking for a way to kill time. He decided to get up from his favorite side of the couch and got the keys from the counter top. He got inside the car and drove to the city. He was content with the day. He had a good life, he thought. He had a loving wife, beautiful kids, a nice house and a whole lot of other things. He couldn’t be thankful enough.
Being a traffic police enforcer isn’t the most exciting thing there is but Officer Ray Nicks took his job seriously. And for today, his station was the city’s busy intersection. Not a lot happen at the intersection except the occasional heavy traffic jam and minor car accidents.
“No biggie” he thought. He positioned himself and his service car at the side of the road. He had a nice vantage point and he could move if he needed to.
Pete pulled over a convenience store for a drink. He ordered a medium soda, paid for his drink then got back to the parking lot. He didn’t notice anything strange about the afternoon. He got into his car and gave the key a quick turn and the engine came to life. Liquid pooled at the space where he parked his car.
“I have to get away” was everything Luke had in his mind while he was running around the city streets. He was bobbing and weaving, avoiding the human traffic since it’s already rush hour. The 16-year old was clutching a purse in his right arm, he used his other arm to shove away people in front of him.
He was a street urchin, born and raised in the slums. Despite the city’s nice facade and fairly new renovated buildings, there was still a percentage of the community who were under the poverty line. Luke was part of that percentage. He was unaccounted for since his parents didn’t arrange a proper birth certificate for him.
He learned what he could to survive. He joined a gang at the age of 10 and grew skilful at snatching purses, slitting jeans pants open with a razor and the usual stick-up with his crew. He was a professional. He had quick hands and he used them well enough to be raking in quite a profit on stolen items.
He was panting, the heavy crowd made it difficult for him to use his limber body to disappear from the sight of his pursuers. He could hear them, their rhythmic exhales and heavy footsteps. There were about two or three men behind him and they made quite a commotion.
Run like you stole something. That was all he could think of, that’s exactly what he was doing. Luke knew he couldn’t get away safely from the 2 or 3 men behind him so he thought of making a run for it. He was decided to cross the intersection even when the green light was still on.
A quick change of lights was all that was needed.
Pete drove into the busy intersection. He was picking up speed since he noticed the green light was sure to turn yellow any moment now. Luck and smooth driving. But a figure of a little man running in front of his car caught the corner of his eye. He stepped on the brakes but it didn’t kick in. Officer Nicks saw only a bit of what happened from where he stood.
The officer ran to the middle of the intersection where Pete’s car hit the back end of a pickup. The left part of his car was smashed and his windshield was a kaleidoscope with shards of glass scattered all over the hood. His right headlamp was dangling out; it had a coat of blood. Pete was just waking up when he saw the image of a big man peering through his window. Officer Nicks was checking up on the wreckage, his pistol was in his hand.
Luke was not running anymore. Pete was still inside the car and Officer Nicks just called for an ambulance. The purse was flecked with a spray of red. Its contents flew away.
Another change of traffic lights and another scene was on.
A man with tattered and soiled clothes got up from the sidewalk and ran to middle of the intersection. He had his hands pointed at cars as if they were guns. The next thing he did was pretend to drive a car and swerved his way into oncoming traffic. The last was he suddenly burst into the other side of the street and the cycle repeated.
That’s what he does around that part of the city. But sometimes he just sits in a corner and gazes at the changing of the lights. The people who were transient beings at the intersection took notice of him. It was the only time they noticed and remembered something.