On perhaps one of the most travelled weekends of the year, I am fortunate to board early. In the front seats of each rail car there exists extra leg room for the overflow of baggage or a wheelchair and on the right side of each, it is clearly notated: “Seats Reserved For Passengers With Disabilities.”
I sit to the left, thinking learning and earning doesn’t apply.
Buffed out college kid quickly hefts his duffel topside to the right and plunks down in his newly found 2-acre seating arrangement, marveling at his sweet scoring maneuver!
I am slightly amused and while intrigued, tired and situated to shut my eyes.
Without so much as a doze, I am stirred by the weight of luggage on my lap, the smell of McDonalds and the view of ‘super-sized’ woman’s behind. She is leaning in and really giving it to the pompous white kid wearing his earphones sprawled across the aisle to my right: ‘You best get your butt out’a them seats and I ain’t gonna ask you twice ’cause I got my mama out there on that platform and she don’t walk no good and I got all these here bags…don’t you read that there sign…? For the Disabled!!’
The kid has shrunk to the window at half his size and from his contorted purple expression he is mad, aghast and petrified all in the same instant. I am suppressing my urge to laugh (should he attempt to somehow lunge at me) and he is long gone before the luggage is removed from my lap.
Pondering the unfolded excitement however, does little to quell the draw towards a little shut eye as we depart. . .
‘Hey you – fella, you – (authoritative, confident) we’re going to need that seat!’. (once, twice and a third time)
As if from a blurred gray distant fog, I imagine not too dissimilar than that of hearing the banter of nurses and surgeons going about their business while you lay prone on the table … I slowly awaken….and my eyes rise to an inconvenienced and agitated burly Red Cap – but almost immediately, I am distracted to that closest to me. Before me and inches from my face was the most beautiful black Labrador Retriever with understanding soft yellow eyes, a moist black nose and a patient pant. There upon the harness on his back, held the frail hand of an elderly blind woman, who smiled in lasting frame … and in that brief moment, I think that we saw each other.
The Red Cap, however, was having none of this and growled: ‘let’s go buddy, what are you DEAF?!?’ (the irony of his comment lost in the moment)
I apologize, wish the woman a nice weekend, and pet the lab as I move on. As I reach the door, she has half turned to the Red Cap and says: ‘hush, the boy couldn’t hear you’.
Then she smiles up towards my direction … before sitting down.
Sent from🚂 📞 …
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