I have Bobbi Brown's lipstick to thank.
Before I headed out this morning I stopped to apply her Crimson shade instead of doing it on the train, like I usually do. I took a moment, fished it out of my bag and applied; a good ten seconds in total.
I would soon understand how crucial those ten seconds were.
A few minutes later as I was rounding out the corner on my way to the train I witnessed a horrible accident. First I heard the sound, and upon turning my head in its direction, saw a van collide with a bus and before I could really register what was happening, started running in the opposite direction as the bus was making a beeline for where I was. I then saw the bus careen along the sidewalk and crash through a restaurant window. And then saw the stricken man on the sidewalk, who, moments earlier, had been benignly waiting at the bus stop. (Media reports say him, and the other four injured, did not sustain life-threatening injuries. Thank God.)
Saying I was hysterical after cheating death–or at least serious injury–would be the understatement of the year, and I thank God for fellow witnesses as we were there to comfort each other in the aftermath.
It's one thing to witness something, but quite another to have run out of its destructive path. And for that, I credit the application of my lipstick that delayed my departure by ten or so seconds, for had I chosen to apply it on the train, as per my norm, the probability is very high that I would have wound up very near to where the man was who was fallen or a few feet behind and potentially unable to get out of the bus's way. But I don't want to think about that. It's too upsetting. I can only thank God that he spared me today.
In the ensuing chaos it is amazingly beautiful how this community bound itself together. A neighbor who was also a witness, but from across the street, found me sobbing losing my shit and comforted me. Knowing that I had been ten seconds from tragedy made me inconsolable and I found strength in her arms. A common language was found between myself and a Spanish-speaking passerby as we held hands and looked into each others' eyes questioning what we just saw. Then there was the woman who approached me as I was leaving the scene and told me she saw me from across the street potentially walking into harm's way and said, oh my God. She told me she was glad I was able to get out of the way. Through my tears all I could mutter was, okay take care, as I walked away. And then I saw the woman who I had just seen a half hour before when I'd left my building walking her two large dogs. (She's always come across as very sweet, but her dogs...not so much; they're always poised for attack upon Avery.) As I walked toward her she opened her arms and held me as I cried. She said she'd seen me at the corner of the accident and was glad that I was okay. She encouraged me to go be with my sweet dog. (I had never so much as exchanged a word or two with this woman on our early morning dog walks and suddenly she was speaking the most important comforting words to me as if she had been always been a friend, which I'm sure she will be now.) I eventually uttered something incomprehensible to her and went back into my building.
By 9:00am I was back home and loopy on tequila shots and had cried myself through more than a handful of tissues. (If there was ever a day for early morning drinking, this was it.)
The rest of the day was spent connecting with those important in my life reaffirming my love for them, followed by major dog snuggling and countless Mad Men episodes.
We'd all like to think we don't need reminders like this to reiterate to us how precious and fleeting life is. But sometimes we do. We must all remember that tomorrow is not promised to anyone and that today is all we have. The present is all we need be concerned about, along with improving upon our future, whatever that may mean for each of us.
Today's events brought everything in my life into sharp focus and I know I must continue to live each day as if it is my last. I don't need to almost get hit by a bus again to get that message.
I wish for you the same.