A Woman Died on the Streets This Morning

Susan: I was late for work that morning, rushing from Starbucks across six lanes of early morning commuter traffic to get to the office. There she was, lying on the sidewalk. I thought perhaps she was passed out from the drink. You get so many of them in this part of town, you see. I stepped over her and almost tripped. The heel of my shoe just sort of grazed her arm, which was stretched out with the hand in the gutter. If I’d had time, I would have stopped to see if she needed help or something. If I hadn’t been late, I would have phoned for an ambulance. I would have checked for a pulse. I would have lifted her head up into my lap. The administration assistant hates me because I’ve got a nose ring and I like to laugh every once in awhile. She’s got it in for me, and she watches the reception area all the time. I used to have dreams of being a school teacher, but my grades weren’t so good. I hate this goddamn job, but I was really lucky to get it. I can’t afford to be late anymore this month, not until my boyfriend gets himself back on his feet. I really wanted to stop to see if that woman was all right, you know.

Tom: Yeah, I heard about it. We could see her from the office window. I saw some woman walk right over her body. I guess that’s what things are like in the city. Just like New York, now. She was probably homeless or living in one of those hotels they pay for by the night. The dead woman, I mean. It’s creepy seeing something like that right in the broad daylight, you know. Right where people are going about their business. It reminded me of a scene from the television show CSI. It took the cops forever to get there and put a sheet over her. It’s not really decent, having to watch something like that. They need to move those people out of the neighbourhood, somehow. Find a better place for them.

Susan: I had a dream last night. That woman was in it. I was six years old and wearing that dress with the yellow flowers. I was walking down the street and I saw the woman lying there. She was alive and moaning in her dreams, the way that my Dad says I used to do when I was really young. It was the strangest thing, but I stopped right in front of her. I bent down and I lifted her up. Lifted her right up in my arms. She must have weighed two hundred pounds, but I lifted her right up from the sidewalk and carried her to her home. The strangest thing. Imagine.