Torch

ellen-conny

I saw him through the dark. An amorphous shape moving towards me from the entrance to the Castle Park. A wheelchair, a man in a wheelchair. As he approached he stopped the chair and pointed upwards beyond my head. Look, he said, look up there. He was pointing at the moon. Yes, I said. Look, he said again, at the ring around it. He was insistent, determined to get me to pay attention. Yes, I said again, I saw it as I walked, it has lit my way. He smiled then. Are you going to be OK in the dark? I asked. Can you see? Shall I offer him my torch? I thought. I’m fine, he said, peaceful now, his arms gripping each wheel ready to move. I touched him, his arm then his shoulder. It felt good to do so. I know him. Not to talk to, this was the first time. I know his face. I’ve seen him on a Monday night in the Indian restaurant, on the prom playing a guitar in the sun and outside The Angel  surrounded by students. Happy, he seemed happy to be among their throng. Spilling out at closing time, three or four in the morning. I think he is deaf. There is something fixed to his skull. On the outside. It makes me feel a little queasy. When I spoke to him I gave him my whole face. He watched my lips and inclined his head. Sometimes he is listening to something through headphones. I may be wrong. He lives fully. He absorbs and responds to what is. I touched and was touched. And the moon? A half shape but still magnificent among the cathedral-like clouds, building up and up into great towering  edifices. A chill morning, three pairs of gloves and two hats. I love to be warm. Sometimes that is all there is, the need and the satisfaction of comfort.

Worked late last night. Four students doing a Pop Quiz. I listened to their laughter, their screeching and singing in the studio. They were having fun. So confident, so self-assured. It is good. Youth is soon spent. Let them be full. Full of it. Like him.

I watch it all, satisfied.