We watched her fall. Or rather, the cars in front of us watched her fall; we just watched her. Her stillness held the fall itself. Her body, limp, and the motorcycle, splintered, lay in the intersection of Shore and St. George. Mom in the passenger seat starts crying and I run the red light so we won’t have to watch her die. Because it looks like she’ll probably die. Mom won’t stop crying, because of motorcycles, she says. “So scary” and “you’re never allowed to ride one.” John tried to teach me once. This was when they first married, when he was trying to appear more as a friend than a father. Mom was out west on business as I pushed the little green Honda around an Episcopal church parking lot.

The woman is swollen, though not from trauma. She’s just fat and dressed in ugly clothes—light washed jeans and a sleeveless shirt. Where her arms should have been peach, they are now a sinful tile white. She just fell. Blood was still on its way to the street. I craned my neck to see if her eyes were open, but she was face down.

Although she was in the intersection, she is only blocking the turn lanes. Cars drive by.

We checked the newspaper the next morning. No article, so she’s okay. Then Mom starts talking about motorcycles again—the dirt bike track that her mother owned while she was in high school. “Just a field out in Deep Creek I guess, looking back.” But kids would come on their spray painted bikes. Cracks of lawnmower engines. No helmets.

“That’s why I never did drugs,” she said. “One night Mom and I came across some kids who had been smoking pot. They were from out of town. One of the them, a tall boy with long hair, got on his 100 cc and drove it straight into an elm tree. The bike flipped back on top of him, its hot pipes burning his legs. The others lost their minds laughing. They never told him they had cut the weed with something, probably PCP. Hunter, I tell you, I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

I sit there, not thinking about PCP or about that broken and dead woman who is now alive again, but only how my mom calls my grandma mom and how she was young once and how she was alive before I was.