A young woman strides down the sidewalk, dolphin-grey tights on her long legs, her rich red coat billowing softly around her, unbuttoned, long baker’s-chocolate-brown hair bouncing with every step, all the colors deepened by the overcast skies. Post-War French Vogue, boarding school old-money, incongruous walking past the modern suburban public elementary.


She has that orange-y home-bleached-blonde hair, so tightly pulled back into a bun that not a single strand falls to soften her aging face, her posture utterly upright, unusual in a very tall woman. Business dress, from 20 years past: a too-long black trenchcoat with too-wide shoulder pads, everything black… gabardine pants, bracelet, shoes, purse. In her left hand, she clenches a single car key so firmly, held with the metal jutting out between her middle and index fingers, that her knuckles are shiny white. It’s a self-defense tip, I recall.


As I drive past the crosswalk where the teenager and her toddler sister were hit, I see the baby’s pale pink blanket lying in the gutter, even though it is no longer there.