No Survivors

I’m guessing someone’s died out here tonight.

            He’d been brought up in the Lutheran Church, his Grandmother and then his mother following that faith, and his mother had thought that it was a good idea to expose him to religion at a young age, age five, so that he’d know that there was religion there for him should he want to practice it on his own when he was old enough to make decisions like that.

            There are flares on the road and no one’s moving.

            He’d done pretty well, made some good friends, laughed with them through Sunday School classes, Christmas plays, Vacation Bible School, and the like, and at an older age, with Catechism, then being part of the acolyte pool, Trick or Treat for UNICEF and canned goods drives, and finally joining the Interschool Christian Fellowship group where he’d met older teenagers from all over the island of O‘ahu.

            I sit in this line not going anywhere.

            He helped found a Christian study group at his high school, meeting on Saturdays, even after he’d determined, at the end of his two years in Catechism, that he’d never give up Saturdays for anything related to Christianity, the church, or the Bible ever again.

            The intense orange and white light melts the road tar, I can smell it burning, the sulfur odor strong in the air.

            After a good friend of his had died on a Sunday while working a construction job in their senior year in high school, he’d sworn off the church completely, not being able to tolerate the comments of his fellow churchgoers, how they asked the boy’s mother and father why their son was working on a Sunday instead of being in church.

            I wonder how long we’ll be here, think how I’d like to get home as quickly as possible because I’m hungry, and the ambulance squeezes by.

            So he surprised himself when he joined the Varsity Christian Fellowship group at the University of Hawai‘i, continued to hang out with many of the people he’d known from his high school days in Interschool Christian Fellowship.

            Finally, the traffic begins to inch forward, the police having cleared one of the lanes.

            But he gave up in the end because no one started showing up.

            I rubberneck and see glittering glass and mutilated vehicles, bodies covered with bloody sheets that disappear in my rearview mirror, say some quick, mumbled prayer for the dead, and turn on some music.

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