During Tuesday night’s walk with Jeter, a man with a bicycle made me aware of his presence because, as he explained, he didn’t want me or the dog to be startled by him. He was walking the bike. It was black, as was his clothing and his skin. It had rained earlier and was now dark. We walked near one another, facing traffic, on the sidewalk.
As we walked, he spoke with a bit of a mumble about how he didn’t want to get hit by a car because “people don’t stop if they run you over.” He said he was “too old to get hit.” I suspect he was close to my age, but it seemed that life hadn’t treated him as kindly as it had treated me. He shared his thoughts with me a little repetitively, but I didn’t mind. Truthfully, I kind of appreciated that he repeated himself because he didn’t speak clearly and it took me a couple of times to understand what he was saying. And, as I found out, he wanted to talk.
He asked me if I had seen the news. Had I heard about the 5000 people who were on their way from Mexico? There were babies, he said. We couldn’t kill babies. Could we?
I shook my head, mentioned I thought the caravan of people were actually from Honduras just passing through Mexico, and remarked that we were living in some pretty f*cked up times. We stopped walking and waited for the light to change so I could cross Delaware Avenue, and he said it again “We couldn’t kill babies. Could we?” I had no answer for him.
We parted with sincere wishes for a good night.
I walked home thinking about the encounter – me, my big dog, and this man who rode a black bike wearing all black in the dark worrying about being hit by a car and babies on the road dying.
These are some wildly crazy times, but talking to this man who had more concern for the safety of babies he would never know, than he had for his own, touched me and gave me hope. People are paying attention and are troubled by what they see. Now, if they’ll just vote.