A Travail Monday 


Several hours ago I exited a coffee house in dire straits. The antecedent to my agony isn’t important right now. It was the sort of anguish that subsides into obsolesce when one realizes solace will not arrive.

I sat in my car which was parked lateral to the coffee house. I sat there and admired the day, the weather and passersby. While perched on my drivers seat; with window down; I began to hear a series of unremitting squalls. Initially I thought it was the sound of a cat in heat, or a cat stuck in a place it had grown curious about, or an injured animal of a different sort altogether.
I exited my vehicle to see if I could help the grief stricken animal. That’s when I realized the screams came from the mouth of an old Chinese woman who sat in the passenger seat of a car parked on the street in front of me.

I approached the old woman’s car. She didn’t see me, but I saw her mouth open and devoid of teeth; and her tongue twisting and turning about. She looked to be about 95 years old.
I spoke,”Are you okay?”
The woman turned her head ever so slowly until she faced me. I thought,’Oh boy. She doesn’t understand nor speak English.’ My assumptions were incorrect. She had a very sweet voice. She responded,”Yes. I’m okay.”
I asked,”Are you sure? Because you’re screaming.”
She told me she was okay and after staring at each other for a few minutes, she turned away from me. I stood there and watched her. I stepped closer and attempted to discern whether she was wounded or bleeding. She didn’t look hurt. I was left with the impression someone had driven her there and dumped her so that they might have a few hours of respite. They left her.

It was a beautiful day. I decided to walk from the coffee house to a park I noticed while standing beside the old woman’s car. The park was a mere block away.

When I entered the park I saw man sitting there with his bicycle and belongings. I decided to impose my presence upon him. The man was listening to a voice that made me cringe via a handheld radio.
I asked him,”You like Rush Limbaugh?” The man looked toward me and decreased the volume of his radio. He then looked at me expectantly and I repeated my inquiry with a smile. The man said,”It’s not that I like him. I just think he’s honest. He’s not lying about what he’s saying. I’m like a lie detector.” I nodded to indicate I was listening and understood. After our exchange he turned the volume back up and I cringed.
He listened to his radio and smoked. I took pictures and journaled. A short while later he stood and with his left arm outstretched he asked,”You smoke weed?” Inside I felt delighted. I laughed and said,”No.” He shrugged and brought the joint to his lips.
Approximately 15 minutes passed before he began packing things into his knapsack. He said goodbye. I watched him cycle away and walked to my car. The vehicle with the screaming old woman was gone.


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