I was looking when the car hit him, heard the crash as his bicycle was thrown down the street. I ran. The little blond dog at my side with me at pace. She wondering why we ran and I, wondering afraid of what we would find.
The blue car had nosed into another automobile parked on the corner, evidence of the driver's shocked effort to avoid the boy.
The child lay in the street on his back, eyes half closed, legs cut and bleeding. The knuckles of his hands white, clenching desperately handlebars no longer in reach. His mind still echoing it's last terrified command, his body still trying to obey and save itself.
I was on my knees then, gently holding his head still. His eyes began to see but the red evening sun shined into them and the few tears sparkled on his red cheeks making it difficult to focus. He tried to rise to the voices gathering around us. I saw the purple swelling behind his ear growing and I moved my hand a little for his comfort.
Όχι.' I said. 'Πάψε.' and gently guided his shoulders back down to the asphalt, my Invader Zim shirt now a respite cushion from the heat of the road beneath.
The man driving the car was kneeling beside us, anguish on his face. He had his hand softly on the boy's shoulder and those big brown eyes looked up at us as the crowd grew. Just a few small tears. The boy would not cry out.
A strong young Greek.
A familiar old man with white hair was able to take my place as we waited for the ambulance to arrive, the police to make their little marks in the road and show us what went wrong.
The boy told us.
The driver told us.
"I couldn't stop in time."
I moved further away then and let my back provide him shade from the sun. Friends and neighbors talked to him in calm, caring, concerned voices till the paramedics came.
No reason for me to stay. I'm still a stranger here. I speak so few words.
Little blond dog still close at the curb by the broken and bent bicycle. We walked back home and I noticed the small bag of trash that had fallen, forgotten from my hand, still laying where I'd dropped it in my haste.