Friday, July 18, 2008

I Saw A Man At The Metro (subway) Today

I saw a man at the metro today. He was stopped on the stairs to catch his breath. His chest rouse and fell as if it took all his strength and concentration to make it happen. He was bent over from the effort, his face lost in shadow from the subdued lighting in the subterranean station.

My first thought was, why? Why would this old man take the stairs?

There was a woman behind him, waiting, watching. Concern would be the best way to describe her face. The etched lines that lent such character to her spoke the truth that this was not the first time she looked upon this man with such grave concern. She did not speak a word. Her actions spoke for her. She stood, behind him, waiting, watching, concerned.

What must her thoughts have been?

My eyes searched the scene for any obvious reason why this man would have made this choice. I must admit it was more curiousity than concern. Without much thought I had already judged this poor man. How brave of me to confess it now.

Then my eyes fell upon the railing of the escalator, the escalator I had judged without thought to have been a far wiser choice for this man of such considerable years. The railing was not moving. The thought poked my reality; the escalator was not moving. It was no more than a thing of empty promises.

In a breath my vision cleared, the world shifted and the fool was changed to victim. This man had not made a choice as there was no choice to make. He was a victim.

Guilt rushed upon me as if a river had been left to drain into the metro as I comfortably and self-assuredly rode my working escalator past the struggling man. Why should I feel guilt, I thought to myself, I did not cause this scene to play out in the metro today. Nonetheless it was guilt I felt as I rode my escalator away from the breathing man and the concerned woman, disappearing out of sight without a look back.

What can I write now? What words will comfort this foolish heart?

I say I saw a man at the metro today, but did I see? Did I care to see?

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