It had been a perfect day, perfect week, actually it had been a perfect semester.
Just that morning, I had walked out of the Dean of Nursing’s office – he was proud to announce that I was the valedictorian of the class. Nursing school was vigorous 24/7 studying, but I thrived on study. I only had one “B” in Bio chem that I crammed in between all the As for almost 5 years of study. Having a baby, in the middle of school, had changed the game; I had almost quit school. Somehow between understanding teachers and friends, I had managed to keep plodding.
We were going to the coast for the afternoon for some rest and relaxation. First we had a meeting with a migrant who desperately was trying to get his daughter back. As I was packing up, I moved my son’s car seat up to the front so he would be able to see the dunes, the waves, the gulls.
I chattered away about school, finals, my thesis paper, graduation, and translating the farm worker’s story.
The baby chattered too as he saw the ocean for the first time. “Look, Look, Ahhh.” Glorious rays of the post noon sun flickered off the waves. The seals surfed and bobbed out in the bay. I envied them. I smiled at my son’s wonder.
We talked about our strategy as we rounded the bend onto a country road. I was always amazed at how fast San Francisco was swallowed by the coastal countryside. We had to stop for a school bus dropping off children. From the backseat of our two door sports car, I looked into the face of a boy walking along the dusty lane. Dark, boring eyes conveyed a startling message:
“You will die today.”
Please join me tomorrow for the second part of this true story. “Vehicle of Life”