Most mornings I dodge a few early morning sprinklers whose streams of water reach like watery tendrils past the struggling lawns and onto the sidewalk and a couple of small standing puddles of water I worry may contain mosquitos carrying Zika or West Nile Virus and tread up five blocks to a small urban park as the merciless Texas sun is just starting to sear the land before baking it for good and all, and I circle the half mile concrete track there at a slow trot trying hard to think of something constructive to say to the man I see there shambling faithfully around it every single dawn whose limbs jerk hard to make him list to port like a wayward boat tugged by a persistent and utterly malicious tide. Those legs and arms conspire against his every stride. Betray each footfall. Yet he soldiers on around and around doggedly and never misses a day. We naturally come face to face with each other on the track each morning, as he always walks clockwise and I always walk counter-clockwise. Because we must. We cannot do otherwise. Don’t ask us to. I want to say something brilliantly supportive that doesn’t come across as patronizing. I want to applaud him somehow. He’s more or less my hero. Words formed in my mouth this morning as we approached each other. It could have been just a simple “hello.” But he looked so fiercely focused on making his contrary limbs obey him, I just nodded. Tomorrow I will say something clear and distinct and human and establish a tiny budding relationship. Just acknowledge his presence and ongoing struggle as a fellow human on this earth. Something like “Hi.”
Who knows what may come of it?