by Lonely Christopher
Once I saw a retard almost run into oncoming traffic on Fourteenth Street. Calculating pedestrians were darting across the road as the light turned green and traffic approached swift across the intersection. The man who I say is a retard was standing with his limbs splayed dumbly out at awkward angles, and he who I say is a retard was shaking his head in agonized confusion, and his tongue it hung out the side of his muttering mouth. He could not understand the opposing signals he was receiving at that moment. A glowing sign he knows means stop! walker, don’t even think about it, but stubborn running men making it across the way the way he knows you do when the sign glows different to tell you, make it, walker! now, walk across the road, here’s your chance. So this retard lurched forward and tumbled into traffic, just as the walkers he had seen do it made it to the other side, and just as the oncoming cars were no longer far enough away for one more walker to make it across before it was the turn of all the cars. I saw a car hit him with violence and I saw his body fly through the air, limbs wagging every which way, and now bloody hit the ground without life any more in him, in my imagination. What he really was was saved: he saw the first car coming at him and only for a moment stood there with an injured frown before it came to him that he must move, backward the way he came to the curb where the rest of us stood waiting. Every one then pretended to be preoccupied looking at the hotdog vendor but I held out my hand for him. He took my hand mumbling a bunch of garbage that wasn’t words at all, like a kind of retard language that even he probably did not understand, like this, “gwuarhma heboo-dobbie ishbhein loafkauh poormaou hilfmeihn!!!” I brought him close to me and held him there, and looked into his stupid face that looked just like a scared baby’s face, and I kissed him on the mouth, and that is when he started weeping just a little, but softly. “It’s OK,” I said, “I am sad, very, very sad. I am all so damn sad. And that’s just the way it’s got to be.” And then the crosswalk signal changed. And it all really happened except for the last part.
(Published in Satan, August 2007)