Crosses on the Curve
13 Nov 2010
The Crosses on the Curve
I walk along the "S" curve that connects the Bear Creek Bridge to the county road. The curve is seductive and dangerous. At the beginning of the curve and the beginning of the bridge are two blinking lights. I asked the county to install them because the accidents were so common. That was almost 20 years ago.
Then I come to the crosses.
There are two.
To the large wooden cross is nailed a plastic angel, weathered now, half of her is white and half is brown. She used to look like an angel but the paint has been worn away. Now she doesn't. She is just ugly.
There is a little shelf halfway down and whatever was there is missing.
At the base of the cross are red and white poinsettias that I think are nearly two years old. They are now just faded plastic relics. One cluster has broken off and lies behind it. The cross is now a relic, too. A small, brown paper bag has blown up and rests in front of it.
A girl died here. I think she was 17. There used to be a name on a note but I don't remember her name and the note bleached, deteriorated in the rain, and then it was gone. She died in a fiery crash, unable to escape her prison. When I pass the crosses, I can visualize her screaming, clawing to get out of the inferno that will take her. I close my eyes tightly but it doesn't help.
Beside her cross is a cruder, plainer cross, once white, now weathered silvery gray. It looks white in the sun. It lists to the side, no longer straight. There are no plastic flowers for this young man, not even a name. I remember he was about the same age. I believe it belongs to the boy who was driving the other vehicle. I don't remember the circumstances, but I always envision a dark-haired teen, slumped over the steering wheel.
I don't remember seeing memorials like this in other states I've lived in, but they seem common in Florida. They are distracting. For a time, these were replaced with small round signs by the county. But whoever mows the shoulder allows these two to stay.
The families must have moved on. How could you drive this road and take this curve and see where your children lost their lives? Losing a child is a wound time cannot heal. But passing the place where the accident happened; to relive it every time, must have driven them mad with sorrow.
What if it had been my son, who nearly died on this road a few miles away, ejected from the window in a rollover? It took a long, long time for my son's blood to wash away where his head hit the pavement. He wasn't much older than the two that met their death here.
I always say that my dead parents – my son's personal angels – were in the car that night, watching over him. If angels are made of love, then he lives today because of them.
But where were the angels for these young souls?