A big thanks to Paul for taking such inspiring photos!
Here’s your picture for today. What story does this picture tell you? set your timer to 15 (or 30….whatever works for you) and write!
The Phone wouldn’t stop ringing.
As soon as one call ended, another would take its place, the melodious song becoming nothing but a clanging cymbal to my ears. I navigated skillfully through the city streets with my internal auto-pilot on high alert – no time to think about steps now. I simply needed to get to the board room for an early morning meeting.
Shifting the weight of the pack I wore to the other shoulder, my feet carried me around the corner of an old building, eyes still diverted from the path in front of me. Miraculously I had not yet collided with the sea of humanity that hurried around me toward their own destinations. Like bats flying in diming light, we successfully avoided the other’s path.
Till my feet stuck solid.
As my hands flew out to break the inevitable fall that awaited me, the cursed ringing phone struck cement; forever silencing its cry. I wasn’t even upset. But as my hands found earth, along with knees, hip, and shoulder during a truly acrobatic roll, I wondered what I had done to deserve this interruption. I would be late now for sure, and I couldn’t even call to let them know why.
As I righted myself onto my behind, I looked to see what had caused me to stumble. There on the sidewalk, close to the corner of the building, was a man. A sleeping man. I wondered for a moment then if he even lived, for he had not even flinched at my shoe finding his body. Slowly I crawled over to the inert body, and peered into his face. His eyes were tightly closed to the increasing morning light, and I wasn’t sure that I should bother him at all.
I cleared my throat loudly, hoping that this would garner his attention, then possibly I could offer an apology for my misstep. But the phlegmy din did nothing to stir him. I sat down beside him and reached tentatively for his arm, which lay peacefully across his midsection. Then wrapping my fingers around his wrist, felt for the pulse indicating life. It was faint, but strong, so I breathed a sigh of relief. As many years as I had lived in the city, I had never before encountered a dead body, and I certainly did not want to gain that experience now.
I placed my hand on his shoulder and gently shook. “Sir”, I said, “are you alright?” Please be alright, I prayed silently too. I saw his eyelid flicker minutely, but only a small crack appeared, then closed again. Looking around for help, I noticed that the commuting people on the street passed us by as though we were not even there. And I wondered dimly, how long this poor man lay here with no a single person taking notice. Day’s maybe?
I scooped my arm underneath his, and the smell of unwashed body wafted up from the openings in his filthy coat. Still, I garnered all my strength and sat him up against the building fascia. As he sat supporting his own weight, he opened his eyes, and stared at me in wonder. He did not speak, but his eyes said all. “Why are you helping me?” they asked.
A compassion filled my heart. And reaching for my phone that lie broken a few feet away, I dialed. “Sarah, could you please make me a reservation at my usual spot near the office?” I had often stayed in a room near work when I had large projects, and looming deadlines. The seclusion and quiet was a balm to my soul, and I found that I could gain the peace that I often missed in those times. “And order an array of breakfasts to be sent to the room as soon as they can prepare them.”
My eyes never left the man who sat before me. He almost looked fearful now as I spoke, but my gaze must have reassured him of genuine intent, for his eyes closed again. “Yes, I know I’m supposed to be in the meeting. Please make my apologies, and let them know that I will check in a bit later to explain. Thank you Sarah.”
Hanging up, I glanced toward the street and raised my hand to hail a cab. As one pulled to the side, I gathered all the strength I could muster, and helped the man limp to the curb. The cab driver gave me a curious look which was quickly turning angry as I sat the man inside. I reassured him quickly that I would be accompanying my companion. He was wary, but turned around, and as I relayed our destination to him, he began to pull away.
“You’re going to be okay.” I said to the man beside me. Then looking out the window in front of me, I reassured myself, “You’re going to be okay.”
Let me know how you like the story, and if you wrote one, I would love to read it! Leave a comment below!