Saturday, February 10, 2018

This morning as I walked from the school to the train, I perceived in the corner of my eye a man prone on the street. A team of EMTs were huddled around him. One held a bandage against his brow. I wanted to look, so I turned away. I knew it wouldn’t be right somehow. I crossed the street and navigated a little crowd of people who’d stopped and turned around. I looked at them. Their expressions were unconcerned, unalarmed. Maybe the guy was alive, alert. Maybe he was going to be OK. Or maybe that’s just the way humans appear when they’re watching someone die.

I thought of that day in London with my dad. A cloudburst had come and the sidewalks and streets were suddenly slick. We approached a group of people who seemed to be standing still for no good reason. Then I saw between them a tall, dapper, dark-haired man who had fallen and cracked his skull. His dark crimson blood flowed over the slate-gray pavement and mingled with rivulets of rain. Someone was on a knee beside him, doing what he could, I guess, while help was on its way. My dad gripped my hand a little harder and we walked past.