Finally, a park bench uncontaminated with pigeon excrement. I relaxed to let my gym bag slip off my shoulders, and sat down facing a lukewarm sunset amidst subsiding rumbles of downtown rush hour bus services. While one hand texting and the other feeding me with an energy bar, I glanced up to find a stern-looking women shuffling her feet anxiously before me.
I was taken quite aback, of course, and stopped chewing. She wanted change but also wanted to hand me some kind of brochure, like she was begging and selling at the same time? So, I shook my head, lowered it, and ignored her.
Two benches to my left, she started hassling a couple. But the couple appeared to be concentrating compassionately on her expressions, for that woman was deaf. Some time passed before it registered to me that she was selling something to people on the streets to make a living. And I felt horrible.
I stood up with my hands diving into all my pockets and I scanned eagerly for her. She was just a pedestrian crossing or so away from me, but she hurried along, as I’m sure she had a warm home to return to for dinner soon. I swung myself away from the bench and jogged towards her with a looney at my fingertips.
Being deaf, she didn’t expect me, and so she jumped even with a gentle tap of the shoulder. But her face light up so much… that it seemed to delay the sunset. And I felt more than lukewarm inside.
As I walked away equipped with my new sign language brochure, I said sorry.
Thanks for reading.