There were thirty two steps. That number made me a little nervous. I stood before the hospital room door.
I had already rehearsed what I was going to say, but even to me, it
sounded rather cruel. Cruel? No. Think balance. Think justice!
Finally I walked in the door.
The boy in the bed looked at me with searching eyes before reaching for
the remote control. He pointed it at the television set mounted
on the wall above my head and the noise ceased. If only life were that simple. The push of a button, and no more noise.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“That’s really not important.” I said, pulling up a
chair from near the window and sitting beside his bed. The chair had four legs, four is good. Four is two equal portions.
“I don’t under-” he began.
“You will.” I said. “Just be quiet a moment and listen
to what I have to say…and please try to keep an open mind.”
He looked puzzled, of course, but soon he was all ears.
“You’re here because of me; or rather, what I did.” Was I too forward? Is he scared? He looks scared.
The blue eyed kid of about twenty years old was silent.
Interested as hell, yes, but silent. Do not fear, young boy, I’m not here to hurt you.
“First you must understand that it was nothing personal. It
was just a matter of principle. If you wanna blame someone
though, here you go.”
I tossed the identification card of the bicyclist that had cut me off
twenty minutes before I saw this kid that was now laying in bewilderment before me.
He picked the card up and examined it. I watched his face as he did, he showed no sign that he knew the guy in picture.
“I’ll get to him in a minute.” I continued.
I was silent a moment, not knowing exactly how to tell the story. Then the words came. “I was standing at the stop light with a stick in my hand and it mattered not who came by; but the first person to ride their bicycle down the sidewalk instead of in the road-as prescribed by Pepper Pond City law-I would throw the stick in the spokes of their bike.”
The boy went wide-eyed as the story was coming together for him. Hate. I could see it in his eyes. Good, he has every right to feel hate. Let him feel that same burning rage that I had felt being cut off by the son of a bitch in the ID card.
“Now about the card you hold. That’s the information regarding the boy that inspired what happened to you; when he nearly ran me over not too long before our own encounter.” I explained with mixed emotion. I hope he sees the other guy as the enemy. That’s the point. The entire point of this encounter.
“I tracked him down and got that for the unlucky person that would ride by me near that light where you fell.”
The kid’s jaw dropped. Panic. No. I do not want him to panic. Quick, search mind for something peaceful. Yes, there it is!
I then said an old prayer that goes like this:
“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
There was a moment of quiet calm before he awkwardly said, “but I’m not Irish.”
“Neither am I.” I said in earnest. “Neither am I.”
I felt at this point that he began to see the principle of the matter. My mission was complete.
I turned then and walked towards the exit, but stopped as an afterthought came to mind.
“You’re welcome,” I said as in a ‘by the way’ manner as I opened the door, “for calling nine one.” I’m sure he thanked me quietly or in his prayers that night.