Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Antonia Albany
The minute I hear the siren, I know I can kiss our Sunday morning brunch goodbye. It is around midnight on Saturday when I hear it off in the distance, fast approaching our bedroom community of Salmon Creek.
I nudge him as he sleeps next to me."Hon, the ambulance is coming."
Our tiny bedroom in the back of the house faces away from the ocean. Sometimes in summer, with all the windows open, we can hear the waves crashing on the rocks in the front of the house even from our bed. When the fog rolls in, blanketing the coastline, everything becomes still and quiet. This is a foggy night; I can tell by the silence.
The wop wop of the ambulance wakes me from a dreamy slumber. Because he is a volunteer EMT currently on duty, I sleep with an ear cocked to the possibility of a short night.
I don't have to prod him more than once. Springing into action, he crashes into the wall that lines his side of the massive waterbed.
"Okay, okay. I'm okay," he says, fumbling around on the headboard for his glasses.
Sleeping fully clothed, all he has to do is find his shoes, kicked under the overhang at the end of the bed. Then he's ready to run downstairs and meet the volunteer ambulance vehicle of which he is the second paramedic on board.
I really admire him for adding this responsibility to his already busy schedule as a biologist at the Bodega Marine Laboratory. Often he's had to make hourly runs to the lab for some larval crustacean feeding trial. This work, coupled with being a volunteer EMT one week a month, has meant he travels the dark empty roads at all hours of the night for one purpose or the other. And he has never complained. He loves what he does, both as a marine biologist and as a volunteer EMT for our community of 450 residents.
After even the shortest of emergency medical calls, he won't be home for hours. The scarcity of houses which dot the vast rural landscape and the distance between them and the hospital in town guarantees this.
I fall back asleep as the sound of the siren fades away in a Doppler fashion, feeling the once warm spot in the bed turn cold.
Antonia Albany now writes in Santa Rosa, CA.
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