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Please Do Not Disturb

On a sunny morning in September 1984
My mom’s best friend Linda drove to the grocery store
With her four-year-old daughter Becky in tow
Listening to the radio, Becky amused herself in the back seat, looking out the window, 
And it crossed Linda’s mind that Becky’s safety belt was perhaps not fastened
For Becky’s father was overly relaxed about making her wear it, but Linda wouldn’t have it. 
So she looked back to check it 
And in that one second
She drove under an industrial truck that had suddenly stopped in her path,
And neither of them came back.  

I think of this story sometimes as I drive to the store; it reminds me to never look down nor back
But I sometimes wished I’d learned it myself instead, even if I as the one under a sheet by the road that nobody can see what’s beneath it, but they know.  

Today I was thinking of this but was momentarily distracted when I heard the radio play this song:  “Sittin’ in the morning sun; I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes . . .” 
“I like that song,” I thought, and I started singing along, 
When the National Public Radio broadcast interrupted to inform me 
That Otis Redding died in a plane crash two days after recording this 
At the age of twenty-six 

So I turned it off 
and thought, 
“Thanks, NPR, for ruining another thing for me!
Couldn’t you have another broadcast about transgender bears in Finland whose misery won’t impact me so immediately?”  Geez! 

How do you tell a four-year-old her friend is dead? 
I don’t recall what was said, but I knew right then that my end, too, could be soon.  
How do you tell a four-year-old her friend is dead?  
I would make no friends for many years ahead.   
I knew it when my mom picked up the phone
In her response the message was known.  
I was partially deaf from an untreated ear infection
And this was the first thing I heard with clear perfection. 

When I got to the store I was making that face people tell me not to make
Lest it freeze that way. 
But I don’t care.  
Sometimes I wish I had a sign tacked on my back saying, “Do not disturb! Be aware!
I’m already as disturbed as I can stand!
And further disturbance is grounds for attack!”

But I probably don’t need it, 
Although I keep distant and never make eye contact, they can see it
Sometimes the strongest messages are indirect
Like a sheet by the road, a message unsaid
No need to say it
We all know the answer is posted on no sign nor in the paper
But for what it’s worth I’ll say if you see me
Please do not disturb – I’m too disturbed already!

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018




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Date: 6/11/2018 8:31:00 AM
- Always be aware, Amy ... suddenly everything is changed in life ... a great and moving story - hugs // Anne-Lise :)
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Amy Sell
Date: 6/11/2018 4:33:00 PM
Thanks, Anne-Lise - hugs back // : )
Date: 6/11/2018 7:13:00 AM
Such a sad world we live in sometimes Amy and all we get is bad news, so tragic what happened to your moms friend, all it takes is a split second to change lives forever. Hope all's well. Tom
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Amy Sell
Date: 6/11/2018 4:32:00 PM
Yeah, it's sad, but there's bright spots out there. People here, for instance, can be a bright spot in an otherwise rough day! : )
Date: 6/11/2018 5:26:00 AM
You expressed yourself here...and I enjoyed the read...All the best Amy
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Amy Sell
Date: 6/11/2018 5:33:00 AM
Thanks, Arturo! I appreciate it.