Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Walk Through a Carpark

There she was
A frail old woman encased
In a seemingly hearty roll of florid polyester
Where beats beneath a fearful butterfly
Afraid to take that minute giant leap
Three inches high from a cement slat across sunbaked grass


I watched her the entire length
Of time it took me to traverse across that quiet carpark
She caught my eye
Because she was no small woman
At first glance she appeared strong and full of spark
Perhaps it was a reflection from her gaudy ensemble


She toddled on the spot
The entire time I watched her
Three inches
So slight
So insurmountable
It was clear she was not fleet of foot
Her balance was dubious
Her fear most high


Gingerly she dugged her cane on the hard pavement
Instead of giving her greater grip
Her footing even more seemed to slip
Her head never looked up
I spied her lip aquiver
Despite the death grip of her teeth


Three inches
Three minutes it took me to reach her
No heroine am I
She was in my way
As I returned back from lunch in a hurry
As with every other person full of flurry
Of their own importance
And their right to time


I glanced at her as I reached her
Would I offend her if I offered aid?
What careful words should be said?
In the end I was silent
As I smiled at her in commiseration
And looked belligerently at the kerb
For dastardedly getting in our way


She looked at me in surprise
I found that sad
To be shocked at an offer of help
It tells of the long absence of such
I asked if I could hold her bag
Then worried she might suspect me of perfidy
So I offered to hold her hand
To make the quantum leap of faith
That some stranger will aid
Where others have looked away


Too stupefied to speak
I decided to do both
Holding her handbag in one fist
While the other held her surprisingly soft hand
We stepped together onto high ground


Embarrassed now as she struggled to find words of thanks
Blushingly she gasped out words
Thank you ...
Leg ...
Tired ...
Old ...


Yes, I understand
I have been ill before
And found simple gait a mighty feat
With swimming head
And hazy gaze
To make eye contact with someone
To communicate distress and a need for aid
And finding blind eyes hastily averted


I wondered why all jump with alacrity
When an infant toddles with scant security
To hold
To comfort
To pet and protect
When unsteady footsteps the child should make
Yet an aged person is left alone
To meander dangerously close to the edge


Is it our fear of seeing our futures before our eyes
Perhaps by sinking our heads
In peaceful sand
We think to avert the sands of time?
Will the touch of wrinkled, dry skin
Send goosebumps down our spine
As we haplessly caress our own dewy skin
To convince ourselves of immortality?


Perhaps we should spend more time
Hoping that come that day
When we stand on a quiet carpark
Afraid to step three inches into our aged autumn
Someone will hold our hand
So that we forget not that we are human


Categories - Rambling Prose

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