Watching it all happen was like a crazy sort of disaster. David found himself looking ahead, and projecting backwards, trying to piece out what had happened and why. How he could have avoided things. Then there was screeching tires and crumpled metal.
David ran into the scene, perceiving the smell of blood and fear, hearing screams and whimpers. A near miss. That’s what they would end up calling it. David found the Jack Russell’s crumpled form shaking from pain. He could see that one of its back legs was broken, and maybe some ribs.
“I’m sorry,” David said, on his knees, reaching a hand down to pet the animal’s head.
This time he did hear the footsteps approach. A woman in scrubs was sprinting over with a medical bag.
David looked up and around, at the wrecked cars. Air bags had deployed. A round man was speaking to a thin woman as she clutched her head.
“He’s still alive,” the woman said, crouching near David. “Good, good. Okay. Can you back away please?”
David moved backwards, and looked at the people again. “What are you..?”
“No one was seriously hurt. Paramedics will be here shortly. Plus I’m a vet, not a doctor.”
The strange day continued on into late afternoon. David waited in the waiting room as if the animal was his. “We just met,” is what he said when people asked the obvious question.
The woman from before, the vet, came out from behind the closed doors, and gestured to him. She wanted to talk privately. Her posture matched that of the people in his mother’s telanovelas. It wasn’t good news.
“I’m sorry, I never got your name,” she said.
“David. Cruz.” Maybe she needed his full name for paperwork or something.
The woman nodded. Her eyes lingered on his face, then looked at his shoes. “Alex. Marsh. Doctor.” She shook her head, and her eyes stopped dilating. “They told me you had been waiting,”
“Oh.” David thought. “I just figured it was the right thing to do. I didn’t really have anywhere to be.”
“I see. So who are you?” she asked. “I’m sorry, that isn’t really how I meant to ask that.”
“No, no, it’s fine,” David said, and passed a hand through his hair. “I’ve been trying to figure that out myself, honestly. But, you aren’t here to tell me,” and he lingered.
“Oh,” Dr. Marsh threw on a different attitude altogether. “It’s still touch and go. The little guy is a fighter. A tech just told me that someone was still waiting, and I had some time.”
“Right, right,” David said. “Well, I hope he makes it. I’ve actually been looking for work, so I think I’ll take after his example, and fight. Thank you, Dr. Alex Marsh,” he said, and smiled.
He was halfway to the door when she offered him a job.