Thursday, September 29, 2005

I found myself ducking out of the office this afternoon to head downtown and fight the winds. When I was in college and the mean reds had me I would wait until dark and then slip down to the seawall by the Castillo de San Marcos and try to stand against the winds. Now that I am an urban adventurer I tend to fight my reds in the streets, up and down city blocks.
Plans of all sorts have fallen through for the night. My original Thursday plan was to go see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at the Croc., but I tossed that plan in favor of a girl's night. Only the other day my girl became homesick or boyfriendsick or both and headed to Pennsylvania to rejoin her other half. Sadly, the CYHSY show had sold out. And now I am at home with Neil Gaiman and Minus the Bear and tea, and that's fine, but the only way to get from there to here was to go downtown and put myself in my place.

As I was fighting the wind and trying to lick the rain off my nose I realized that a man had fallen in step with me. We reached the same bus stop and ducked under the same awning, and so I looked up and smiled. The folds around his eyes gave him a concerned air, and in a moment of paranoia I wondered if my edges were showing. He smiled back, and commented on how much of a struggle it had been to make it down the street. I agreed--the winds were heavy and I am light, and as a result I had gone a half step backward for each one forward. (This is pretty much par for the course, these days.) After a little more small talk he introduced himself, reached out to shake my hand, and that was when I realized that he was only in possession of three fingers. His middle and pinkie digits were missing, and as his hand closed over mine I tried to tell the difference. But the pressure of his thumb on my palm was firm and reassuring, and I looked back up at his crinkled eyes and smiled. He smiled back and nodded, and in that moment in the wind we understood each other.

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