at the crossroads

I really want to believe that benevolent celestial beings look out for us. It’s a comforting thought in an increasingly bizarre world. But the idea seems so irrational that I’m embarrassed to admit this longing, even to myself. It’s like holding out hope that I’ll hear flying reindeer land on the roof at the close of December 24th. But something happened today that fanned the flame of hopeful belief.

It happened at the intersection of a divided road–technically a boulevard–and the northbound service drive for a freeway. We were waiting for the light to turn green so that we could continue on our way.

aerial photo of city street and buildings
Photo by Deva Darshan on

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched vehicles wander from the second into the third lane while crossing the intersection at that particular spot. I blame it on a bend in the road that tricks the eye into thinking the third lane is a continuation of the second lane. I have no doubt that wandering drivers think they’re maintaining their lane.

My sister was driving and was somewhat familiar with the intersection so I assumed she was aware of this tricky aspect.

I was wrong.

When the light turned green, we inched our way toward the intersection. She complained that the huge vehicle next to us began encroaching on her car. We were mere inches away from hearing the sound of crunching metal.

That’s when it happened.

The traffic lights that had only been green for one second began flashing red inexplicably. Traffic stopped once again.

This was the first time we witnessed traffic lights exhibit this behavior. Sure, there are intersections with lights that switch over to flashing lights in the evening but this was not one of them. It all contributed to the weird factor.

art asian butterfly color
Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

The reprieve gave me enough time to explain the optical illusion to my sister and show her that she was actually the one encroaching on the other driver.

After a few seconds, the flashing red light returned to a steady green and we crossed the intersection. This time, staying in the correct lane.

I looked for some reason why the lights would exhibit such weird behavior at that precise moment but found nothing to explain it. Of course, I also found no evidence of angels or other benevolent being keeping us all safe at the exact, perfect time but I welcomed the possibility of such magic in the absence of all other evidence.

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