I’ve realized that it doesn’t bother me to bring up old memories, so here is another one. I won’t lie, but I will leave things out. I realize that leaving things out is a form of lying, but I don’t want people questioning if this is him. Here’s what started it all. 16 and a half years old, I had been kicked out of school and on my way to a facility to get my GED. The youngest one there and they knew it. They have a 3 strikes and you’re gone policy. I had four altercations, but 1 wasn’t reported and another took the blame. He was 5 years older than me and he hit me first. I left there with my diploma and a free ride through junior college.
At 17 I knew exactly what I had always wanted to be. A firefighter. I killed college. Just turned 21 years old, licensed paramedic, EMT certified and my masters in fire science. I could fulfill my dream, had I not fallen for freelancing. I would say odd jobs, but they were mostly certified jobs. Building houses, just carpentry of all types and construction. Welding, which unknowingly gave me no fear of heights. I think that’s why the transition to building and working on communication towers was easy. I’m opening up too much, so let’s begin.
After working a while all around some states, I settled down, sort of, shortly. I started thinking about being a firefighter. With money in the bank and debt free, it was time to get my feet wet as a volunteer. Having found an affordable place during my last job, I set up there. A small town near a small city. When I received a phone call to come in to talk with the fire chief, I was ecstatic. The excitement didn’t last long. He was impressed with my resume, but they weren’t hiring. He offered me the next best thing, “volunteer,” just as I expected. He said with my credentials I’m first on his list. That CPAT, (Candidate Physical Ability Test), that young, and that proficient. I killed it. I had to call about that. You really want this and I’ll be on the lookout for you. We shook hands and I left. I left smiling and thinking, I got this. I set myself up even more once I got a volunteer’s badge.
I went to the police station, lo and behold, it’s a female at the desk. I flipped open my wallet, said my name and followed it with, volunteer firefighter at your service. After a little small talk to put her at ease, she opened up a little more. She explained to me of what most emergencies consisted of. She said it was mostly car accidents. People would drive through here at high speeds, sharper turns than they expected and ditches were the cause of most accidents. I showed and told her most of my credentials, and she did seem impressed. I told her that I didn’t want to get a police scanner. If I give you my number, would you call me after you’ve called the appropriate authorities? If you’re a volunteer they’ll call you. In a pleading voice I said, but what if they are too late. Also, I could get there before them, or at the same time. She was giving in, and I knew how to solidify this. In defeated words I said, OK, just look at the reports and you’ll see it’ll be worth calling me early. She gave a sigh that said, either, it’s time to go, or we’ll see. I’d find out that it was the latter.
I’m sure it was the smile and a winking of the eye that did it. Within two weeks, I was being asked if I had a police scanner. I also was given the nickname, “Batman.” I had something better, or someone. She was on it too. Since I stayed about 5 miles from the fire and police station, if they had to come my way, I arrived first a few times. Two mixups, I wouldn’t say mistakes, gave me two life changing moments. She had called me first, realized her mistake and kept going. The first time was to another car accident. As I came upon the scene, I saw a car upside down and smoking a little. People were just starting to gather around and while I was putting flares out, it wasn’t until I made it to them that my adrenaline was pushed to the Max. There’s a child and whispers of, is that fire!?
Looking and seeing the child and that they were on the side more damaged. I threw one more flare and ran to the driver’s side. When I made it there, I didn’t see too much damage and no fire. I had an ASP baton, not on me, but I also had a thick tungsten carbide tip ring. I needed something, because, of course the doors were locked and there wasn’t any glass. An elbow, couple of knees and frustration led me to my go to. Steel toed boots. Standing up and a few kicks, coupled along side the site of a small fire, told me I had to hurry. It would not break. I went to my knees to get in position and begged to let me be able to break the glass. The third hit and anger broke it.
I reached in, unlocked the door and opened it past where it should be. I reached past the driver, she was unconscious, and started on the kid. I had to reach and further to get one arm to push him up and the other to undo his seat belt. He hardly had any weight to him, so I eased him down and let him lie there, with a plan in mind. I was able to get my arm around her head and shoulders and my shoulder on her thighs. I pushed up, undid the seat belt and guided her down. Since they were light, my plan would work. Once she was in a position to slide on out, I grabbed the boy and pulled him almost, evenly and directly over her. A combination of pulling and pushing, they were out the door enough. I stood up dragged them away a little more and picked them up. I put her over my shoulder, he was light enough to get my hand under his armpit and lift him up. I ran a wide distance around the car to the people waiting. I felt like I started breathing again. It was time for damage control. Everyone that isn’t leaving get back and behind something!
The kid woke up first. She was being comforted by someone when he went to her. He was crying and kept saying mommy. A little upset, I began to feel better once she started to wake up. The, “mommy” and crying was louder. He cried out a name to her and said, she wasn’t able to get out. The realization of what he had just spoken, hit her and me at the same time. I looked at the car and she screamed the other child’s name. Black smoke and a fire larger than before told me I had to hurry up.
My heartbeat and adrenaline kicked in to overdrive. I ran over to the driver’s side again, bypassing the back window. Just as I went through the driver’s door, I looked at the back seats and saw a carseat. With no noise from the silhouette of the baby, the thought that this baby won’t burn up in here entered my mind. A quick process to undo the carseat, the urgency came when the door was scraping the ground and plenty of smoke was coming through the dash. The third option was used only because option one and two were shot down quick. Option one: unhook the baby and go out the driver’s door. Too much smoke and by the time it was unhooked, that fire at the tire will made its way to the door. Option two: unhook the baby sling it as far as I can. Nope, there’s still time, but I will put option two on the back burner. Seriously, no pun intended. In the end I wouldn’t let this baby burn up in here. I turned on my back put the car seat above my chest and began kicking the door. Only a couple of thoughts while I was kicking. I really don’t want to die this way. At least the mother and the rest will only have to hear my screams. It almost makes up for it dying on impact. As I started to form my next thought, my foot slid past the door.
With hope and enthusiasm, I looked past my feet to see I had kicked a wide enough opening. With no leverage I scooted out feet first. Before I could completely stand, I felt heat, saw a bright light and heard what sounded like a fire hose spraying. The big fireball almost sent me face first into the ditch. I ran along the ditch and only made it about 10 feet from the bumper. The explosion sent me about 5 feet more. I landed outstretched, knocking the air out of me. Me and the car seat rolled over once completely into the ditch. I didn’t have time to process anything. The escape, the inner leaving my body or the pain.
It wasn’t bright, but when I lifted my head I saw a little baby smiling at me. I think time stopped, because I said and asked a lot of things. Still with wonder and confusion, but no words, I stood up. I walked a little further before I crossed the street. Not for dramatic effect, that I was walking up to them slowly. It’s just that I was completely confused. When I was finally out of my daze, I could hear them and the mother giving the death cry. An elderly man saw me first, and said, oh, here we go. As everyone started to notice me, the mother was last. She had the look of I don’t want to see the results. As I was approaching I turned the car seat to face her. She started smiling and getting up and heading towards me. She hugged the whole car seat. She then stepped back, as I held the car seat so she could get the baby out. She did, her in her son held each other and the baby.
As the hugs and praises started to wear down, I heard the sirens. All that questioning of why, how, what and whatever, was a blur. How was that baby alive and well? The whole time!? I had to go home. It wasn’t until I was on the edge of my bed and exhausted all answers, until I got a clue. MINE. I looked around, because I couldn’t tell if I heard that out loud or thought it. MINE. That was like four voices in one, I heard that. I listened and waited and when nothing happened I explained it away…For a little while.