Stood to the side of the road, walking stick supporting him. Well kept. Elegant even. Just standing. The traffic constantly passing him by. No slowing down, but then no attempt by him to get them to either.
I slowed down to let him cross. No movement.
I opened the window.
“Would you like a lift?”
“Thank you,” he said. “Thank you very much.”
Slowly walking towards the car, he gets in.
“Much appreciated,” he said. “I’m going to 4th street … is that ok?”
“No problem. Which cross street?”
“It doesn’t matter. Anywhere on 4th. I’m going to the bank.”
4th Street is long …. twice as long as the distance I was going to drive to get him there. We pulled away and got back into step with the traffic.
“Good news he said. I have $5,000 in my account that I didn’t know I had. I’m going to check that it’s there. That it’s real. Hope so he said, I’ve already been celebrating.”
I’d already guessed it wasn’t cologne that I was smelling.
“It doesn’t matter. If I have it, maybe I will buy the car I’ve been wanting. Save all this waiting and walking.”
“You could get a nice car for $5,000.”
“Can you? It’s been a long while since they took my last one away. They took it with my license.”
“How long ago?”
“Can’t rightly recall. A long time ago. Be nice to drive again.”
“Oh, wait – here will be just fine.”
“There’s a bank 5 blocks up. No problem to take you there.”
“Oh no no no… thank you. Here’s just fine.”
I pulled over, and he got out.
I watched him walk away in the opposite direction to the bank.
Who knows where his mind was going to take him next.
One thing was sure. It would be wherever he wanted it to be. A walking stick isn’t going to stop his travels.
I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery