Tell me what you heard today

Today when I was making my way down the street, I heard honking as I was approaching the intersection. Looking up from the steadily moving cracks in the sidewalk, I saw a blind man crossing the intersection. Initially I thought nothing of it, because I see blind people crossing the street all the time with their stick. It amazes me how they know when it is safe to cross and how they stay so straight. I would not be able to navigate as well as they do. A Coca Cola truck was waiting to move forward, as he had the green light, but the blind man began to approach him in a wavering line. The truck began honking again, this time longer and louder blows resonated from the cab. The man stopped and began to walk even closer towards the grill. I began to trot towards him, slow at first, then a full-out sprint. Another person walking near me began to run alongside of me. The three of us reached the man and brought him to the corner. The driver got back in his truck and drove through the light.
“Can I help you cross the street sir?” I asked poking my arm out in prince charming fashion.
“I thought I had,” he said trying to regain his lost sense of direction.
“Where are you trying to get to?” I asked still holding my elbow out. I was waiting for him to grab onto it, but he never did. Just kept pushing his stick out in front of him.
“I’m trying to get back on the Grand bus,” he said finally stopping in his spot. I looked just 3 feet ahead and saw the sign with the post that read 65 Grand.
“Oh, well then you’re right here!” I said trying to remain positive and friendly. I walked forward and expected him to follow, but he just sort of leaned to the right like he was going to walk right back into traffic.
“Well the sign post is right here,” I said ushering his stick to the sign post.
“Well thank you,” he said stepping next to it.
“Have a great day,” I replied walking back towards the intersection. The other pedestrian was waiting on the corner as I approached.
“Scary, huh?” he said looking back at the blind man.
I nodded my head and we walked across the intersection. Tears began to collect in my eyes, replaying the whole thing over. I sped ahead of him in the sticky heat, with my bag pounding into my hip bone. Chills ran through me and my eyes gave way to the luke warm tears that cooled my hot cheeks. I wanted to turn back and take him home, or hail a cab and give my credit card, but that seemed invasive. I felt so selfish at that moment for ever thinking I had a tough day, or that life wasn’t fair. Empathy punched me like a prize-fighter, right in the stomach. I walked to a park to sit and calm down. I fell onto the bench and dropped my bag next to me. I listened to the boats cutting through the water. A baby was fussy behind me, sporadically wailing and alternately cooing at its mothers hushhh. The wind was hot and heavy, blowing the bangs off my forehead. The shade felt like a new atmosphere when the branches leaned over my head, and my heart rate began to slow. I popped a skittle into my mouth and let it melt on my tongue.
When I thought about the blind man again, I felt better. I closed my eyes and prayed that he got safely to his destination. After my Amen I opened my eyes and squinted at the sharpness of the sunlight.

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Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

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