Routine, uneventful, extraordinary

I wrote down a lot of things during my time on the streets, glad I did, some things are worth remembering…


She’s ninety years old, a widow and bleeding uncontrollably from a surgical incision on the right side of her face. She had a “bit of skin cancer” removed earlier in the day.

“Are you my favorites?” she asked, squinting.

“Not yet,” I replied.

“I love your haircut,” she ×mentioned to John, my partner tonight. We were both working overtime at Rescue 5. To say that John is folliclly challenged is an understatement. He bent to help Marcia to our stretcher and she impulsively rubbed his smooth head.

“She is in her glory,” said Marcia’s granddaughter from a few feet away as the guys from Engine 5, myself and John helped her along. John was obviously her favorite.

“What is your name?” she asked him.


She nodded her head, storing the information in her mind with the other ninety years worth of names, faces and memories.

We controlled the bleeding and headed out. Marcia’s granddaughter was unfamiliar with Providence, we transported “Code C” so she could follow.

“Is Sarah still with us?” asked Marcia, concerned, looking out the rear windows as the city sped past, backwards.

“We’re trying but we can’t shake her,” I answered, conspiratorially.

“She’s good,” replied Marcia, laughing.

We arrived at Roger Williams Medical Center a little past midnight. We lifted her from our stretcher to theirs, seldom a gentle experience and this was no exception. Marcia grimaced for a second then settled in. She took my partner’s hand in her own and as we left said, “thank you, John.”

Routine, uneventful, extraordinary.


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