It was a miracle.
For someone like me to have found someone like her.
I drive an ambulance. She is a doctor. I carry lives. She saves them. We are a team.
Made for each other. Moonlight and moon. Rainbow and rain. Morning and hope. Her and me.
People talk. I let them. They have every right to speak. I have every right to ignore them. They demean my work.
It’s just perspective.
Rich or poor. Famous or unknown. Classy or scum. They are all the same when carried on a stretcher in an ambulance. Fear of death makes us all one.
I see what I do in the eyes of families of people I manage to save. Death is a tough concept to grasp. The fact that death missed their beloved by a matter of minutes however is easier to understand. There’s gratitude. One heart to other can connect. I feel their relief. They feel my sincerity.
Everything else… is just perspective.
Then there are times when me driving fast is not enough. Death reaches to people before I can reach hospital. Death conquers lives before my girl can save them.
I see eyes go blank. People break. Grief digs deep into their being. And a limp that was alive minutes ago is the heaviest thing to carry. The cries of the families gets to you. You feel their pain become your own. Something inside goes amiss.
But I still drive. It’s my job.
To the rest of the world, I am an ambulance driver with embellished skill. I wear white clothes. I shout at the top of my voice in a traffic. I smoke like the under-bridge homeless. And I make just enough money to keep myself in the white uniform.
To everyone at the hospital, I am the day shift driver number 3. To the families of patients I carry, I am hope.
To my girl… I am death racer.
We are a difference of opinion. She talks. I listen. She believes in god. I don’t. But I go temples with her. She carries an i-phone. I carry the cell the hospital got me. And yet… It’s just one of those little things that don’t matter.
She comes to the hospital on the back of her dad’s vintage vespa. Girls sitting behind their dads are the happiest. Prettiest. Doesn’t take much to fall in love with someone just like that.
Today is another difficult chance. Mr. Swami’s wife has had a stroke. The assistant in the ambulance says the time is running out. The hospital is a good twenty minutes away.
These twenty minutes are not going to be that easy. “Mrs. Swami, hold on.”
People have to be on road. They have to go to work, shopping or simply go about doing nothing. There’s cars and trucks and buses and bikes and pedestrians all over. People don’t concern with anything that doesn’t concern them. Nobody outside this ambulance really cares if the life I carry passes away. Fate is cruel. Gods do not seem to favor Mrs. Swami.
But as I said I really don’t believe in gods.
I max out my siren. Two jumped signals, three narrow rubs with other vehicles and one near collision later, we have just arrived at the hospital. That was just sixteen minutes. A life can still be saved.
My girl comes out running with her group of nurses. As I roll the stretcher, she won’t look at me. She doesn’t even know I am there. Duty is her first love. I give the hold of the lady’s life to her.
As she takes away the patient, i whisper on the inside.. “Death… meet life!”
While they work on Mrs. Swami, I take a stroll out to the tiny shop. My work is done. The rest of the world tries to balance love and life, while each acts as distraction for the other.
The truth is, love is life. Right now… my love is saving a life.
I don’t hope for lives to be saved. Hope has been making fools of men since always. I always believe. It’s always the work. Mine. Hers. And the patient’s perseverance.
I don’t get a duty call for next forty minutes. This was good. I get to talk.
There she comes. She’s got a smile on her face. Her death racer has won. Mrs. Swami lives, after all.
She greets me with a chuckle that says, “Maybe we could be like this forever…”
I smile back and remove that maybe altogether.