I was putting laundry away in the next room when I heard the pop. The street is four floors below us, and the window was just barely open. The pop was metallic and unmistakably the sound of one car hitting another.
My heart instantly jumped up into my throat. Only moments before, R had gone downstairs with Oliver. They were driving to daycare first, and then R was off to work. I didn't know if they had actually left the garage or not, but I knew that she always took a left out of the garage to go to daycare. That would put her at the intersection below our window.
I looked down to see a green car sitting sideways on the side of the road. Another car, also green, had apparently flown, or spun, halfway up the street that ran by our window and was on the sidewalk.
I saw someone running, and a bystander charged after him and tackled him. I saw his red face and could hear him asking, "What happened?"
"You're drunk," his tackler told him. "You're drunk and you hit someone." I expected him to receive a couple of punches to the face (I might have done it), but it didn't happen.
As I watched all this, I tried to remember. Green sedan. Green sedan. That wasn't our car ... was it?
I didn't mention this earlier, but our family car is off being repaired after some idiot broke in and tried to steal the stereo out of it. (They left it hanging out of the dash, probably because we always keep the detachable faceplace upstairs. It's useless without the matching faceplate.) So R was driving the rental car, and was it green? Brown? Tan? I couldn't remember.
"It's not our car, it's not our car," I chanted to myself as I bolted down four flights of stairs. "It's not our car." I ran around the corner where our cars were parked. "It's not our car."
R was still in the garage, and our rental car was brown.
She saw my saucer-sized eyes and rolled down the window. She was safe. Oliver was safe and blissfully unaware. It wasn't our car. I told her what happened and she shuddered with the same fear I had. She drives by that intersection every day. If she had left a few minutes earlier, then ...
But it wasn't the case. Someone else was t-boned on California Avenue. Someone else's car was left laying in the street. Some other poor person was taken away in the back of an ambulance. I'll pray for their safety and for justice to be served to his assailant. But thank God - it wasn't our car.