Thank You For Running That Red Light…You Saved My Life!


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It was an unusually cold November night as Ember Connelly, a 20 year old student at Louisiana State University, was headed home after working a late shift as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. It was almost midnight, and she was exhausted. All she wanted to do was get to her luxury apartment, take a quick shower, and crash in her warm, cozy bed. 

(Birdy’s Skinny Love played quietly on the speakers of Ember’s 2012 Toyota Corolla)

“I have got to get a better job,” Ember thought out loud. “How will I ever get any rest?” The vibration of Ember’s phone interrupted her thoughts. She held her Samsung Galaxy S3 in better viewing range, and quickly glanced at the display. “DO NOT ANSWER”, and the picture of her ex boyfriend, Ian, appeared on the phone’s display. “Uggghhhh!!!”, Ember screamed as she threw the device on the passenger seat. She turned up the volume on the car’s radio as she sat at the light of Towne Center and Jefferson. The five to ten minute drive to The Millennium Town Center, the luxury apartment complex Ember and her parents decided would be her home away from home, seemed to have somehow extended itself well beyond that time frame.

As she sat at the red light, she couldn’t help but think of the butt dialed voicemail she had gotten from Ian Thompson, her boyfriend of one year, not even twenty-four hours ago.  He had no intention of having a serious relationship with her at all. Ian was all about getting closer to Ember’s father, Charles Connelly Sr. Mr. Connelly was well connected in the architecture businesses in South Louisiana. He owned his own company, and was far from a failure of his trade. Ian was a junior, and an architecture major at LSU. 


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He and Ember had met when she was walking the campus with her parents a few days before classes started. She was an interior design major, and a freshman.  As Ember and her parents looked around The Design Building, they came across a guy ending a conversation on his cell phone. He immediately noticed Ember. That day she had her shoulder length reddish brown her flat ironed and pinned up, because of the humidity. Her naturally tan skin, was a result of her father being Caucasian and her mother African American. She wore a coral and white floral maxi dress that perfectly displayed her medium frame, and curvy figure.  Ember was only 5’2″, but her breasts and hips measurements indicated she was no longer a little girl in high school. She had light brown eyes, that shined with the light of the sun. Her smile drew him in, and he was taken away by her fit body, hourglass figure, and beautiful complexion. He quickly introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Ian. I’m a sophomore here…architecture major.”

Ember thought those words would probably stick with her until she died, and probably somehow manage to haunt her after death. Ember had been sitting at this red light for about five minutes and hadn’t been paying attention to if it had turned green or not. Baton Rouge was notorious for it’s episodic malfunctioning lights, she thought. It was late, and a Sunday night, so no one else was really out and about. Not to mention the weather conditions had not been what residents of Baton Rouge were used to.  Ember decided to make the left onto Jefferson since no cars were coming. She was only on Jefferson for a few seconds when red and blue lights illuminated the dark night sky, and not to mention the interior of Ember’s Carolla. She pulled over in a lit parking lot with a Burger King in it.  She remained inside of her car with the windows up until the officer made his way to the window. She put her window down, turned the radio down, and greeted the officer. “Hi officer, I am so sorry for running the red light, but I was sitting there for like five minutes and it never turned.” “I’ll need your license, registration, and proof of insurance,” the officer replied as if he were a robot, and was only programmed to lead with that phrase. Ember reached into her purse and located her wallet. She fought with the area covered in plastic that seemed to have suctioned her driver’s license into a permanent location in her wallet. She tugged some more and out it came.  Ember then gathered the other documents from the car’s glove compartment, and handed them over to the officer. He walked back to his cruiser without saying one word to Ember. As she sat in her car with the heat on high, her phone lit up in the passenger seat. It was a text from Ian. Ember ignored it and turned the phone off. As she sat thinking about her spacious, two bedroom apartment, warm shower, and cozy bed there was a tap on her window causing her to jump. She pushed the button to lower the driver’s side window, and the officer apologized for startling her, only to hand her a ticket for running a red light. Well at least he isn’t robot, she thought, thinking about the fact that he did apologize. “I know you don’t live too far from here, but be careful on the road.” Those were the words the officer told Ember before he walked back to his car.  She headed out of the parking lot and on to Jefferson one last time that night.

(Ringtone playing: So wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older. All this time I was finding myself, I didn’t know I was lost.  So wa-)

Avicci’s Wake Me Up, Ember’s ringtone, woke her from a sound sleep. Before she could locate her phone in the darkness of her room, the ringtone ended. Who is calling me? She wondered. Better question, what time is it? She managed to grab her phone and check the time. 4:14 AM, November 17, 2013. Ember entered in her passcode to unlock her phone, anxious to see who disturbed her slumber. The number was none she recognized, and it was not stored in her phone’s contact list.  Ian, she immediately thought. Then the phone rang again, same number that interrupted Ember’s sleep. She answered before she missed the call again. “Hello?”
“Is this Ember Connelly?”, the male voice replied. Ember hesitantly replied, “Uh, yeah. Who’s this?” The male voice simply responded, “Thank you for running that red light, you saved my life!” Ember knew exactly who it was…


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To be continued…

To be continued…

K. A. Smith


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