And now I was scared, so I came to my friend’s bedside and lay my head on his chest. And he comforted me. Because fluids were being pumped into his left arm, he held me close with his right arm, though both his right shoulder and right wrist were fractured. Broken and bandaged, his legs ending abruptly in white gauze, he held me close.
Photo by Holley Rauen
It is nearly three weeks later, and I am far from Brian’s bedside, talking to him by phone from a hotel in North Platte, Nebraska. “The swelling has gone down in my stumps,” Brian tells me, “and I need smaller casts.” The therapists have him exercising, practicing with crutches and a wheelchair. “It requires a lot of rest between exercises,” he says, with happy impatience, “which is why they get mad at me.” The next order of business: “I have to build calluses on my stumps.”
He will go home to Holley and Gabriel soon, perhaps with the week, and he I excited. “I have an office at home, and I am going to answer letters.” He has received thousands. “I’m now corresponding with people all around the world.” He is already penciling in a speaking schedule to start in November. “I’ll be giving lots of interviews.” He pans to return to the Concord tracks and join the protest that continues there daily.
Photo by Jock McDonald
The District Attorney of Contra Costa County has concluded an investigation, and decided to file no criminal charges. “There is not a jury in this country that would convict that train crew of assault with a deadly weapon,” the DA tells reporters.
Some want to know: was it worth it? “It has nothing to do with ‘worth it,’” is Brian’s answer. “I don’t sit around and calculate the worth of my acts. I act on my conscience. I never anticipated being run over by a train, but I plan to continue saying no to the death trains with my body. I’m going to the tracks directly from the hospital.”
He also has a ticket for a Giants pennant playoff game. Naturally, he hopes it will be against the Cards.
And then? Brian is not sure. “I’m going to do a lot of discernment about my next steps — literally.”
Photo by Hock McDonald