Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bloody Footprints

Walking to work Wednesday morning I followed a pair of bloody footprints for three blocks.  They started in the street, made a wide u-turn where it looked like the person had gotten out of a car and skirted another before running onto the sidewalk.  A small pool of blood had dried where the person had stood before continuing toward Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.  The footprints were small and far apart, as if the person had been running, and surrounded by splatters of blood.  There was so much blood that it looked like the person's feet had been dipped in a bucket of paint.  The footprints continued clear and distinct for three blocks, disappeared in front of the Chinese restaurant (where they had already been wiped clean), and started again where the person had crossed the street.  The footprints continued in front of The Armory, where they ran back into the street and along the sidewalk.  They ended in another bloody pool across the street from one of Presby's research buildings.  Then they disappeared.  What had happened to the person?  Had he or she been picked up by a car and brought one block farther to the ER?  I doubted that the person had collapsed at that spot-- the pool of blood didn't look large enough.  I traced the footprints back and forth, not understanding my morbid fascination.  Others did the same.  A woman wearing mint green scrubs turned and said to me, must have been a bad night.  I agreed, something terrible must have happened for the person to have been dropped off alone and so far from the hospital.  I hoped the person had made it and received the proper care.  The footprints registered urgency and panic, emotions I imagined to be similar to living in a war zone.

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