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Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason


the excavation debris on the other side of the road, he said, "I need help going around all of that,
as well."
I held nearly his full weight, which wasn’t much, while he gingerly stepped off the sidewalk
to road level. Making our way past Bonnie’s car and across the construction zone at a snail's
pace, he continued his monologue like a child revealing a secret so precious that I thought we'd
have to prick our fingers to seal a vow of silence before we parted ways…
"My wife doesn't know how far I go," he said, conspiratorially. "She thinks I'm taking sun in
front of our apartment, so my rapid recovery is an act of God to her." He looked sideways and
winked up at me. "I haven't told her about the help I've been giving God. She'd be frightened I
might fall, which is why she isn't with me now."
His conniving charm might have suggested that his chuckles were of triumph, had his eyes
not misted in appreciation for the love of a woman who had shared his life for fifty-one years,
come October fifteenth.
When I finally let him go, he thanked me and joked that he would have to find another route
home, one also out of sight of his apartment window. He chuckled one last time for me, though I
dare say not for the last time on a day that he refused to measure a few painful inches at a time. If
someone else was lucky, I thought as I trotted back, he would go home the same way.
I used the bank machine and returned to the car.
Barely seated, with my door still ajar, K ha-lib blandly said, "How do you feel?"
"It was great to meet such a gentle man," I said as I put the key into the ignition.
"Do you regret helping him?"
"O f course not," I said, turning to face Bonnie in the back seat.
"Did he mind you helping him?" K ha- lib said.
"Hell no," I said, chuckling. "It was a social occasion for him. He told me about his
convalesc—"
"There are times when one needs help," K ha- lib cut me off. "If that man had acted as you
have been behaving, he would have been embarrassed and slighted you. This would have robbed
you of your joy in helping him, while cheating himself out reliving the memories that sustain
him. This is what you do when others offer you their knowledge, friendship, and generosity."
"But I can cover my end today," I said confused.
"That man could have chosen to sit in the sun."
We drove the short distance to the restaurant in silence.
Reaching our usual table at the front window, Bonnie said, under her breath, "Just get over
it," as the co-owner, Helena, raised her hand in greeting.
"A large carafe of house red," I said curtly, erasing her warm smile as she was about to greet
us from the kitchen doorway.
We took our seats and engaged in small talk until Bonnie made a humorous comment. Jenny
laughed from her gut, as was her way, while I chuckled loudly in competition with raised voices
at another table. Seizing the opportunity, Bonnie raised her brow, and with a subtle nod said,
"That man is stalking himself into realizing how self- importance drives people away."
"How is he doing that?" I dutifully said.
"Helena was not impressed by the customer's attitude, so she hasn’t been rushing to his
every beck and call. This caused him to be more abrupt about insignificant matters, such as
asking to have his water glass filled after he had taken only a sip or two. Based on his date's
cringing, I doubt that she is contemplating a lifetime with a man who somehow thinks his
purchasing power translates into personal power over a young, Greek woman. She probably
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