Distant thunder warned of an approaching storm as the wedding party strolled along the Danube. Budapest’s new National Theatre had indeed been a lavish affair.
“I like that Cyrano only... [+]
Erasing her mind of worry and fright, Winter bounced off her right foot and rushed forward, watching time resume to its natural speed. She wrapped the child tight in her arms and leaped again, out of the way of the truck that was too close for comfort. With a quick glance at the driver, she realized he wasn't even looking. Anger and adrenaline flooded through her as she saw the phone in the man's hands. Spinning through the air to keep the child safe, they landed in the grass on the opposite side of the road.
It wasn't until bystanders realized what happened that the two of them were surrounded with people and commotion. So many people were talking and asking questions at once that she couldn't separate the noise. Ignoring everyone, Winter looked down at the little boy frozen in her arms. His pale face was stricken with fear, and she brushed his cheek to tell him he was safe. He jumped and looked up at her, not completely sure of what just happened.
"What's your name, kid?" Her voice croaked as she spoke for the first time in 11 years.
"D-David. My name is David." She smiled and hugged him tight, the adrenaline still pumping through her veins.
"Hi, David. I'm Winter, and you're safe now." The small child hugged her back, crying into her chest as the realization of what almost happened reached him. She held back her own tears, deciding to listen to the now quiet crowd around her.
"Oh my god! I'm so sorry! I wasn't looking where I was going and-" Winter snapped her head towards the driver running towards them. He froze as he saw the anger in her eyes. An officer from the cafe two buildings down arrived and assessed the situation.
"Is anybody hurt? Who was involved in this?" Two more adults came running over from a block away, both on the verge of tears.
"Officer. Officer! My son is missing. We looked away for just a second then he was gone! Please help us!" The mother burst into tears as she begged for the man's help. The man with her looked towards Winter on the ground and the boy in her arms. David perked his head up after hearing his mother's voice, tears still streaming down his face.
"Mommy! Mommy!" Winter let him go as he jumped up to run to her. The woman cried out and hugged him tightly as he leaped into her arms. Winter stood up and brushed the grass off of her as the man walked over to her.
"Did you save my son?" His eyes were scared but relieved. Winter nodded and smiled, keeping an eye on the driver who was about to get an ear-full of words that haven't been spoken over half her life. "Thank you. Thank you so much. I don't know what we can do to repay you."
"Don't worry about it. I did it because it was the right thing to do. Just don't let your eye off of your son." She walked past the father to the driver who was waiting by a street pole.
"You saved that little boy's life. You're a hero." His eyes showed sorrow and regret.
"I wouldn't have had to if you were watching the road instead of your phone! It's people like you who shouldn't have a license! If you were actually watching where you were going, you would have known that there was a little boy there! If I didn't save him, he would probably be dead right now! And that would be on you! You would have had to live with the guilt that you ended a life that had so much potential! And you would have gone to prison! Now, honestly I think you still should, but that's not up to me! Next time, watch where you're going!" Winter closed her mouth as tears streamed down her face, remembering bad memories of her little sister. The police officer walked up and laid a hand on her shoulder to try and keep her calm.
"Sir, I need you to come with me. Ma'am, I need your name and number for questioning." She nodded and looked at David, who was clinging to his mom's waist. Walking over, she kneeled down and smiled at him.
"Now, David. Always look both ways when you cross the street. Always, no matter what. Promise me that, okay?" He nodded and hugged her, both of them holding back tears. When she stood up, his mother hugged and thanked her repeatedly.
"I owe you everything. Thank you so much, darling. Your parents must be so proud." Winter forced a smile and nodded. She turned back to the police officer and answered all of his questions. Bystanders began to disband and whisper as the driver was put into the back of a police cruiser. Winter continued her daily walk to the graveyard to see her sister, who had been in the same accident that David almost was 11 years ago.
Thinking about the events that day, Winter realized she didn't do it because people were watching. She did it for her. Even if she couldn't save her sister, she could sleep better at night knowing she did save someone else. She was just happy she had the courage to do it.