“She’s not breathing…no, no I tried that. She’s not breathing! Ok….I’m kneeling….I can’t hold the phone and do CPR….ok ok….” he passes his cellphone off to me, I fumble but manage to get it to my ear “Talk to them…” he insists. His blue eyes pleading.
Jared tilts the woman’s head back softly. Her mouth falls open. I look away.
I’m frozen. The scene in front of me is horrific. So much blood underneath her and there’s glass in her hair. Her body is directly on the pavement. Like in the middle of the goddamn street. And it’s so loud. I can’t even think straight. Why is it so loud? I can’t focus. I’m not good in a crisis. Never have been. Not that I have much experience. I have never been in the middle of anything like this before. I’m just not a strong person. No, not at all. My stomach is queasy. I think I’m going to throw up. I can’t throw up here. I shouldn’t even be here.
Somehow I manage to listen to the 911 operator and relay her instructions back to Jared. “They want you to push on her chest….they said you can’t hurt her…and count…each time you push…you count” I say.
“When do I give her the breath….two….three…four….when? …six … seven…eight…WHEN!” Jared shouts at me.
“She says you don’t do that part …just keep doing the compressions.”
“Put the call on speaker!” Jared demands and of course I comply.
The 911 operator repeats through the cellphone speaker what she previously said to me. Something about new guidelines and help is on the way. She instructs Jared to switch with me as soon as he begins to feel fatigue, but I know he wont. He has monkey strength and a resilience I most definitely do not have.
I put the phone down next to the woman. Closer so that Jared can hear the operator and the operator can hear him. He looks at me helplessly but he keeps giving the woman compressions. I am no help at all. I can’t even hold the phone for him. I begin to back away from the scene. I cannot be here when the police arrive. I cannot be here for a second longer. I have to get out of here. I have to.
A crowd has gathered, over my shoulder. The cars piling up. A traffic jam for sure. People want to help now. I want to disappear. Somehow melt in to the pavement. Evaporate. Pretend none of this is happening. That nothing happened.
I feel myself sway and someone catches me by the elbow.
“Are you ok?”
“No…” I say …and I really don’t remember anything after that but I’ve been told a Medivac came and went. Then an ambulance came for me. I remember that. So many questions. I forgot today’s date. Jared was furious. But the police said they’d interview me later. And that calmed him down. I’m probably in shock, they said. He seemed to appreciate that.
But I’m not in shock. I’m just feeling guilty.
If that woman dies, if she already has died … it’s all my fault.