That was 24hours before. Dio had called me. We don't talk all that much. We don't need to. The whole psychic bond thing, I guess. He just wanted to say he was going to take a long weekend, advantage of the Jewish holiday, and pop out to the exotic and romantic Dominican Republic and have a getaway for two love birds.
I can imagine the horror.
I seriously try not to, but they are very invasive thoughts. I'm a writer. I can see that motion of time stop photography that lasts forever, that sudden appearance of physics. We forget that a car weighs two, three tons. It moves at amazing speed and yet obeys our will with a casual hand on the wheel. Power steering silently amplifies our strength, power brakes extrude terrific force that the disks glow cherry red. A small car at 30 miles an hour easily has 491,000 Newtons of force.
You don't feel it, you don't know it. Put your foot down and the car goes. Turn the wheel the car changes direction.
Until it all goes wrong.
Vengeance of the physics monster. When you're tossed like a doll and the cheap plastic door panel slams into you. Your arms flail about like Kermit the frog. Steel bends like soda straws and glass shatters into tears.
And then you watch the jaws of life pry open the wad of metal, the screeching sound of steel that seconds earlier flowed like silly putty left out in the sun and now is stiff and resilient. Faces look down at you, and you see your reflection in their frightened eyes.
Nasty thing, car crashes.
And the news. Out of nowhere. The call comes at 2am, your heart races, you know your picking up a call from shit storm central, but on a Thursday evening? Right around dinner time. You don't see that coming. I don't know which is worse.
I went to stand, pace, slam my fist on the counter.
I faceplanted. My legs where not with the plan. I just dropped. I said to the floor, 'Fuck', and got up and got back on the phone. I believed everything this person told me. This voice on the phone.
I then checked my cell phone, people all over the world was calling me including my brother. It wasn't him, I knew it wouldn't be. It was a policeman who spoke very little english telling me to call some hospital. He had my brother's phone and was calling everyone on it in hope of finding a next of kin.
After that it was call after call trying to put it all together. Ashley was gone. Dio was hurt bad.
The calls continued well into the night and day. It was a 0130 hrs I spoke to a man I'd never met before and told him his daughter was dead. I felt his core rock. Amazingly, he took that and asked how Dio was doing. He lived alone, in a tiny flat in the Bronx and it was 0130hrs. Who was he going to call for comfort, to come stay with him, to wipe his tears?
Given the choice I would have sent a priest over to tell him. A couple counselors, a new age homeopath, but I didn't have that and it was 0130hrs and I thought about all of that and I knowingly dropped a hand grenade in his lap because I had to. I did not have the luxury of time. Someone was going to call him and say, I'm so sorry for your loss, and he would say, what are you talking about?
That's the thing about hand grenades. They are not ever neat, not ever pretty.
I am so sorry.
So very sorry. P'raps in a different set of circumstances I could have different resources, but in truth, it's a fucking hand grenade. If you cover it in whip cream and a christmas wreath and serve it up with balloons and confetti it's still a mother fucking hand grenade and it's going to do what hand grenades do.
He took it, stood, and asked how Dio was doing.
Wow. He felt bad that I felt bad bringing him a fucking hand grenade. He knew it was for him and it had to be delivered and he was sorry it was me and apologized for making me deliver his hand grenade.
So, back to cars.
How much force does it take to move a 3,000 pound object from a resting position to say, 55 miles per hour? Roughly 82 feet per second? Remember that time the car died and you had to push it up the incline, that ever so slight incline that you didn't realize existed until you tried pushing that dead car up it. Sneakers shredding rubber on pavement, praying the damn thing doesn't roll back on you. Now image what it takes to get it to go 30 miles an hour! That's a lot of force and you do it almost every time the light turns green and you get up on the highway. You don't feel any of that force until it smacks into a wall.
Sometimes it's that way with people. Such amazing force!
My mother and father are struggling with the loss of my Uncle John. Within 24 hours of that news their son is in a hospital in another country. So they divide forces. Dad goes tend to his brother, my mom goes and tends to her son.
Wednesday I board a plane to go see my brother.
My hand grenade was given to me Thursday evening. It knocked me down but I got right back up again. I know another waits for me in the Dominican Republic. My plan is to take it, stand, and do what needs to be done.