I had the fright of my life this morning. Not much makes me more nervous than standing right at the edge of the subway platform … except maybe a blind man marching directly toward it.
I saw him moving so quickly out of the corner of my eye, my reflexes kicked in and I started raising my arm to block him from tumbling onto the tracks. He wouldn’t have seen that, of course. (And he did stop just in time, thank goodness.)
But he might’ve heard me catch my breath as I saw his white cane tapping along the edge. And heard it echo through the tunnel.
I had to remind myself that they don’t just hand out white canes with a wave and a “good luck with that!” This man had likely spent countless hours honing his urban survival skills.
Skills that gave him the precious independence that had brought him to this spot … beside me … inches from death, or at the very least serious bruising.
That said, it was the longest subway wait of my life as I tensed every muscle ready to grab him if he started to go over.
I looked down at the bumpy edge of the platform that they texturize and paint yellow as a warning that you’re too close. Rather than standing back from it, however, he was standing right on top of it.
The train approached in the distance. I held my breath as he inched even closer to the drop to the tracks.
But he held firm and so did I. The train pulled safely in front of us. The doors opened and I waited to see he got a seat … Then. Finally. Exhaled.