One time when the old man went into I think it was a liquor store I was of course sitting and waiting outside. I got tired of looking at the things on the sidewalk because the people in this area were not what you would call direct eye contact people. So I swung back my better left arm to try and get a book out of my knapsack, which is always an amazing struggle. When people see me struggling like this it hurts my feelings if they try to help because I am not a vegetable. It hurts my feelings as well and angers me if they just walk past without making a slightly concerned facial expression. The perfect sort of person in my imagination is usually a younger woman in a skirt who walks up with a mildly concerned face but then stops just short of me, smiles in a “boy did I underestimate her” kind of way, and then turns and walks off, smoothing her skirt, and smiling in a way that can only mean pride and kindness. I guess there’s just no pleasing some people, and I guess I just can’t help but get so angry at people.
I’d struggled my hand into the knapsack and was struggling with the corner of what I believed to be David Copperfield when a younger woman in a skirt came up to me, smiling. She smoothed her skirt and said –
“I have developed a unique ability to connect directly to Divine Mother. I converse with her virtually every moment. As a matter of fact … I am conversing with her right now. Yes, Divine Mother.”
Then she took hold of my handlebars, and started wheeling me down the street. I have to admit that I was a lot more frightened by this than when the old man first stole me. Because he might’ve been crazy, there was the chance, but with this person, well, there was just no question. I am generally not good with crazed people. Broken physically I can understand and appreciate but mentally broken is just … wacky.
She just kept pushing me, and telling me wacky things about Divine Mother. The further we got from the liquor store the more shaky and edgy I felt. But that must be how a lot of drunk people feel. No one was paying any attention. Because so many of them were drunk-looking or crazed. The ones who weren’t drunk or crazed-looking either didn’t care or just saw a mother, what they thought was a mother, chatting away to her wheeler daughter, heading home after a fun outing to the liquor store. I often wish I had a flag that said “Help.”
We were heading towards the alley. I knew that if she turned down that alley, I would probably not see the old man or possibly the world ever again. I wondered if I could rock myself out of my chair. I did that once to protest going to a musical. But that was onto a carpet, not the sidewalk. I chickened out.
We were maybe ten feet from the, I want to say mouth of the alley, though that’s dumb. Also, it was a pretty narrow alley, more of an ear hole than a mouth. There was a drunk or a homeless drunk man slumped against one side of it, and his legs ran across and his feet touched the other side of it. I thought we’d have to stop, but she wheeled me right over top of his legs, but he didn’t say anything. I tried to judge from the way his legs felt when I wheeled over them whether they had rigor mortis or not. But I just couldn’t tell.
We were six feet into the alley now, which was pretty dark. I was pretty much choking on my heart. There was a grunt behind us. I guessed that the legs probably didn’t have rigor mortis after all. There was another grunt, and then my chair came to a stop.
I wondered what was going on. No one was saying anything, but there was a lot of foot scuffling, and grunting and breathing noises. Finally the strange woman let go of my handlebars. Then I saw her run past me, and down the alley until she vanished.
Then someone else took command of the chair, and wheeled it around. I was surprised to see the homeless man still lying there.
“I am so sorry,” said a sad voice. It was the old man. “I am so, sorry.”
I could breathe again. It was amazing.
Then the old man wheeled me over top of the homeless man’s legs, out of the alley, and into the sunlight.
It’s weird, but I was really so proud of him.