Today I was bustling through the Port Authority, on the way to catching my bus to Jersey. The Port Authority, aside from being a transportation hub, is also basically a huge mall, with all sort of shops. Near my Jersey gate, there's a pub. Usually people are hanging around outside of it, peering in the windows. I've often wondered why they just don't go in---I'm guessing 'cause they can't afford to buy drinks and just want to watch the sports on the bigscreen TVs through the window.
Today, I was zooming past and looked over toward that bar, as usual. This time, an elderly woman was leaning against the window, and I glanced over at her and was walking on until she called out, "Excuse me, Miss." I screeched to an impatient halt and leaned in to her, waiting to hear some sort of spiel...
She said very quietly: "I can't seem to move. Can you call someone?"
I was stunned at the cold, hard matter-of-factness of "I can't move"..."You can't move? What do you mean?" "I can't move. Please..."
I ran to the hotdog shop next door and explained to the teenaged clerk...She got the medics on the phone, then handed the phone to me..."McCann's pub, on the second floor...How long will you be, so I can tell her?" "5 minutes."
I ran back to the woman: "They'll be here in 5 minutes. Can I get you a chair? Can I get you some water?" She didn't want anything. She couldn't sit because there really was a paralysis and all she could do was lean up against the plate-glass window of the bar... She just looked at me with the clearest, calmest eyes and thanked me and told me I didn't need to stay...
"This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."
I don't know what happened to her after the medics came.