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Child Militia 2002

Child Militia 2002

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Published by Gitta Fonteyn

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Published by: Gitta Fonteyn on Jul 07, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Chapter 1: The Motorcycle Accident 1993
It was the kind of day that one sees often in San Francisco, skypregnant with clouds, a little chill in the air. It was my first day working fora well-known architectural artist; his name was Michael Pennington. Wehad met through an ad in a singles newspaper just a few days earlier andit seemed to be an act of providence that we had found one another. I hadbeen a fine-art painter for over a decade earlier. We connected right away,feeling a strong attraction to each other and then discovered that ourartistic compatibility was great. We both loved painting on canvas andnow he was taking me under his wing to teach me how to paint on walls.We spent all day, this particular day, up on a third story scaffold in amusty Victorian. We were painting a starry night on the ceiling, it was goldleaf on deep navy blue and looked as if Van Gough had done it himsel
orso we liked to think. The house was one of the very old
painted ladies
that San Francisco is notorious for.Since Michael and I hadn’t known each other long, just a few days,we spent our hours together up on those ladders perusing a lot of territoryin conversation. We were enjoying getting to know all about each otherand taking our time at it. On that day we were talking about death forsome reason—about people we loved who had died. After awhile a creepyfeeling filled the huge old house resonating through the empty rooms andthe long dark hallways, we felt as if we had conjured the feeling with ourmacabre stories. At one point I placed my ladder on the edge of thescaffold and if Michael hadn’t noticed I would have plummeted to mydemise. We looked at each other soberly.As we cleaned up Michael tenderly wiped the paint off my face and thenwe parted from that place. Michael said he would follow behind me on thedrive back to Marin County then we would meet at his studio it was 20minutes north of the city. I was tired after the long day and virtuallycollapsed into the driver’s seat of my car glad that the day was over. Aswe drove in our separate cars I could see Michael following closely behindin his old Jaguar, it was my favorite model; because it was traffic hourthings were moving slowly on the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge.Suddenly there was a blur of motion and a motorcyclist passed megoing about seventy miles an hour, as he darted between lanes he wasgoing so fast I couldn’t see anything about him. Then without warning he
lost control and collided face first into the side of a bus in the lane to myright, a few yards ahead. I was shocked as I watched the man fall off hismotorcycle and bounce off of the pavement ahead of me, landing soabruptly that the car in front of me ran over him, straddling him. It was amoment that was suspended in time. Things moved so quickly yet seemedto take an eternity. The bus was full of people, half of whom had seen the accident, it camegradually to a stop pulling over to the right hand shoulder of the freeway.No one was getting out. There was very little time but I knew I was facedwith the choice of whether I wanted to get involved in this or just keep ondriving? My instant response was “yes.” It is amazing how quickly one’sinstinct kicks in a moment like this. I had been feeling a growing numbnessabout life, like nothing mattered but this would be a firsthand brush withmortality—which might make me feel more alive.So I pulled off to the side of the freeway just in front of the bus and ranover to where the motorcycle rider was lying. I knelt down by his headwondering whether he was still alive but I couldn’t tell. I noticed anidentification badge pinned to his shirt—his name was Victor, it was aname I would not forget for a very long time, if ever. He was a black manwho appeared to be in his twenties, tall, attractive and in good shape. There was a pool of blood dripping out of his right ear where his eardrumwas bursting out, there was a large opening in his side where his intestineswere spilling out for about 6 inches with another small pool of blood andhis helmet lay on the road about five yards away. The impact of his head to the asphalt must have been tremendousbecause the back of his skull was shattered into fragments and his brainwas bulging out.I had been so engulfed with taking in Victor’s condition that I hadn’tnoticed that two other men had stopped too. One of the men was kneelingdown trying to find a vital sign. Since there were none he asked me if Ihad something with which to cover Victor’s body. I ran over to my carfinding that I had done my laundry that day and I grabbed a black cape, I just happened to have another one like it at home. As we draped it overVictor’s body I stood and looked around at the strange scene and I felt as if I was dreaming, there were many police cars, fire trucks, paramedics. Things took on a surreal quality and I felt like I was in the middle of a bad
dream. One of the policemen asked me to describe what had happened. Then I saw Michael and felt his arm on my shoulder, he was asking if I wasokay. I was so disoriented that I wasn’t even sure what the word “okay”meant, my ears were ringing and I felt cold all over, I was having a hardtime breathing.Michael suggested that we leave. I realized then that I had beenstanding there in a daze for quite awhile so we made our way through thecrowd of police cars and paramedics. When we found our cars I asked himto come to my apartment in Larkspur with me, it was a short distance. Ihad been planning on showing him my paintings that night but when wegot to my place we spent a couple of hours talking about the accident; wewere both feeling pretty stunned. We drank vodka and ordered pizza withgarlic. I lived in the woods in a beautiful location and being home was theonly place I wanted to be.Over the course of the following days, peculiar things began happeningto me. When I was grocery shopping or just taking a walk, the people Isaw looked as if they were walking corpses. I felt like I was living in anightmare or like someone had put me in a Stephen King movie withoutasking my permission. These episodes were really scary so I talked to mytherapist about them; he assured me that it was only a temporary reactionto my seeing Victor die on the freeway.Unfortunately these phenomena did not lessen in time in fact otherweird things began taking place that were even more frightening. Victor’saccident was a catalyst for many things. I was working with Michael oneday in the Sunset District where we were marbleizing some walls in a hugeold house. As I was standing on a ladder and painting I suddenly becamevery weak. I tried to use my arms but couldn’t, they seemed to beparalyzed. Then the paralysis went into my legs and feet and I ended uplying on the floor unable to move; Michael had to carry me to the car. This scary experience continued in the days that followed, it wouldcome and go in unpredictable episodes. On one particular day I awokefeeling weak, Michael told me to stay home and try to get some rest whilehe went to work in the city. A couple of hours after he left I was struckagain with the paralyzing weakness it was the worst it had ever been; I layon the floor in my living room unable to move. I was terrified and I

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