As I filled up the car, the older lady on the bowser at my right asked me, Can you hear screaming? I paused. There was definitely some screaming -- but it didn't seem to be coming from the mall. Maybe it's from the playground? I offered -- hopefully. The woman turned and stared.
To my left, a guy in business clothes wrestled with the petrol pump, the pink personalised licence plate on his car a seemingly out-of-place detail. Do you know what's going on? he asked. I shrugged. Scary.
Inside the service station, as I paid for the fuel, a guy in butcher's garb leaned forward, nudging himself into the conversation. Do you know what happened? I asked. He nodded and pulled a face. Apparently some guy had a heart attack and drove his car into Suncorp.
It sounded too unreal to be true.
I went to get back into my car. The businessman was still wrestling with the fuel pump. The old lady hovered near. I heard what happened, I said. Apparently an old man had a heart attack and drove into the bank. The guy's eyes widened. Thanks for letting me know, he said soberly.
Then the three of us got into our cars and drove off to our respective lives, back to being strangers with no connection other than that we were in the same place at the same time, wondering. And I thought about how tragedy -- even a seemingly tiny, personal tragedy -- bonds random people in random ways.
* * * * *
Caitlin -- and much love back to you. Your party is tomorrow! Hurrah!
Rebecca Simon -- thank you, Derek. ;)
Asea -- people-watching is the best!
Rachael -- don't you just love little people?
Nan -- how lovely to receive your comments!
Meaghan -- I wish you had been there with me. Granted, though, I probably wouldn't have noticed because I'd have been too busy talking to you. :)