Red Lights and Yellow Lines

Again – Chapter 4 – JohnA Passaro 


Ships that pass in the night,
And speak each other in passing:
Only a signal shown,
And a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life,
We pass and speak to one another,
Only a look and a voice,
Then darkness again and a silence.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


November 30th, 2013

I am on my way to Riverhead.

It is the Saturday after Black Friday.

The roads are crammed with holiday shoppers.

Traffic is at a standstill.

I am flying by in the back of an ambulance going 80 mph, undeterred, in a self-made HOV lane.

I have never in my life desired more to be sitting in traffic.

After the double confirmation, I realized that my nagging feeling needed to be researched further.

So, I am.

I am currently looking out the ambulance rear window, taking Jess to the hospital.

And on the window, what looks like an asterisk formed by three pieces of surgical tape, is obstructing my view.

“An asterisk with a serpent around a pole?”

“Who makes that their motto?” my mind asks itself as trees fly by at warp speed.

My body is physically being pushed forward.

My mind is emotionally going backward.

“How did I not act on my feeling earlier? 

I know this is not going to be good.

I just have this feeling.  

What is wrong with me, I knew it, why didn’t I do anything…”

On and on and on.

Up ahead, flashing red lights on the other side of the yellow line approach us, heading in the opposite direction. 

The red lights are from a fire engine.

The fire engine is not rushing off to put out a fire, but rather it is on its way to ignite a spark into everyone with whom it comes in contact.

The fire engine lights are flashing to proclaim the start of the holiday season.

Firemen are hanging off the fire engine, playing Santa, waving and spreading joy.

On my side of the yellow line, the ambulance is using its red lights to part traffic so Jess can get to the Emergency Room quicker.

The fire engine finally passes our ambulance.

A crisscross between the best and worst of life.

“Keep moving forward,” I remind myself.

Somehow, I just can’t shake this feeling that my life is about to be sacked harder than a Lawrence Taylor blindside tackle.

I brace myself like a quarterback, ready to take a hit.


Read the next chapter – The Most Dangerous Day of Your Life


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