Wednesday 2.6.13 3:30 PM, City of White Plains
My blue folder is gone. Papers are fluttering away. Born aloft by each new gust they travel first as a bunch, like a cloud of super-sized snowflakes, then disperse along Mamaroneck Avenue only to move, again and again, in hiccups along the curb.
I’m surprisingly calm. I realize immediately that there’s not a whole lot I can do. When the light changes and no cars are coming, I pick my way out into the street peeling index cards off the ground as I go. I get close to one, it skitters. I get close again, it jumps away. I see my alternative self frantically grabbing at flying files like Bill Irwin chasing his hat in Popeye. But this me is methodical, serene even; I know that I’ve been forced to let go of whatever was in the folder. The other me, she seems to exist simultaneously in a parallel universe – my very own Quantum Physics moment.
I’m not sure which are my papers or just other litter. I bend to remove soggy slips stuck to the pavement while simultaneously checking for oncoming cars. Unbelievably, everything I retrieve is mine.
The woman next to me asks, ” Was it important stuff?” “Some of it.” I say, smiling. Down the block, as I stand on some random piece of paper to still it, another woman says, ” I saw one of your papers go down the sewer.”
Now a man, a regular on street corners here, brings me a wad of papers. A young couple that barely speaks English hands me more. As I travel down the block more and more people are bending down to rescue my papers. I look in their eyes and thank them as I move along. After several blocks, I stop. It’s enough of looking for what’s missing as I’m too full, too grateful, for the uncomplicated compassion of total strangers and my own ability to be present in a new way, to care.
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