Friday, June 19, 2009

Homeless ladies falling down...falling down..falling down.

When you go to a baseball game, you think maybe you may get hit with a baseball. Maybe. You may get hit by some popcorn, or spilled beer. You never expect to be hit by a homeless lady carting her chariot of finerys.

Brendan and I decided to skip the subway and walk straight to the T after the game (the Red Sox won by the way). It's a lovely jaunt from the park. After getting past the stadium, the drunken fans start to fall behind and thin, the air cools and the food smells dissipate. Walking along Commonwealth Ave. is very pretty. The buildings are intricate, the doorways hidden behind ironwork at it's finest. There are chandeliers behind lace curtains, and the car horns seem to silence...knowing they are unnecessary. There is no traffic.

So there we were. All very La Di Dah. We were not noticing the other walkers...when BAM...a homeless lady falls right at our feet. Quickly, oh so quickly, my heart raced and I jumped to her aid. I noticed the braces on both her legs, and her tightly fitting powder blue dirt covered jogging suit. She weighed 250lbs or more. Easy. Her hair was long and raggedy blond, she had glasses. And she was strewn on the sidewalk below.

When something like this happens, to anyone, instinct fires, your heart yelps, you feel sympathy, and of course you help. I ran in front of this homeless woman as she reached for my hand...She reached for my hand...and I blanked. In less than half of a second...I reached back, but not before I saw visions flash before my eyes. Looking down at her hand, I saw painted black acrylic nails topped with countless band aids and scratches. I saw swine flu, and scabies. I saw a contagious portal of disease. But I grabbed it, and pulled.

It took four of us-me, Brendan and two guys passing by to get this woman up. She didn't come easy. There was heavy breathing and me clutching my diet coke bottle in my free hand like I was Samson and it was my hair. "Diet coke gods...give me strength." When she was up...she was off. Not a word, no thank you. We all just continued walking. But I couldn't breathe. I was scared. It had scared me to see a woman fall. It had scared me to think she might be hurt...but worst of scared me that I had hesitated to touch her.

Sometimes human touch is all we have. I wondered how long it had been since someone had touched that homeless lady? She had her cart filled with things, but no hand to hold like I was gripping Brendan's.

The whole walk to the T had changed. I stopped noticing the beautiful buildings beside me. I heard the car horns honking and saw the people all around. The church so stoic shining in the moon was now a lean-to with blanketed shapes in the threshold. I saw the homeless like I had never seen them before. I had to actually be hit by one to really see.

Our short 2o minute stroll down Commonwealth Ave. had provided great insight...this sought after location, with it's chandeliers and iron gates was neither common nor wealthy. I will never live on that street. I could never afford to. But there are those that do, they enjoy it's beauty, it's quiet, it's chandelier's and statues. These people see the street unlike the ones inside those fancy doors...because they live on it...

I imagine that our fallen homeless friend had been doing the same thing that we were...taking a stroll down a quiet street, seeing the sights, imagining the life that she too will never lead. There isn't a big jump from me to her. Not in these times. I just hope, that if someday I fall, there will be a person there...who will not hesitate to hold my hand and pull...

that's all for now,



Niki said...

You always know how to make me cry...just remember my hand is always there for you. I love you!

dedra said... need to write a book!!! I am so serious!!!! I wish I could write like that!! love you!

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