And then he started to walk slowly. One foot grudgingly followed the other. Loose black emulsion coated pebbles on the course asphalt rolled under his mud-coated white tennis shoes as he refused to take the effort involved in lifting a foot completely away from the ground. Knees stayed bent, his back curved, head hung, his eyes half open saw only the tips of his shoes and a few feet of street. His hands rested in the stretched out pockets of aged blue jeans. Old, thin wrinkled skin covered hands dug in deep so that his fingers felt the holes left from the days he had possessed keys. He stumbled once, caught himself, and continued as a center white stripe came into his limited view. One foot slid on thick paint without acknowledgment, without discerning what the change in color might suggest. A horn mounted inside the engine compartment of a small late model white car demonstrated the Doppler Effect as the car first pushed air and then pulled air and dust around him without any noticeable affect or effect. He moved, his goal in the movement unknown even to himself, but no less important, his every thought, all his strength focused on dragging the next foot into position. He paused long enough to take a breath. He coughed. He slid another foot forward and reached the starting edge of another thick expanse of white paint.
A car, coming from the opposite direction slowed and then came to a stop on the two lane, almost traffic free road, and “Are you alright” the voice was female, young, and concerned.
A flash of recognition, like lights inside his head, and then it was gone, all that remained was the blacktop and the white paint under one tennis shoe.
“Should I call someone?” she was still concerned and there was no part of her that could leave him alone. She talked, she explained, she led him slowly, she pulled, and tugged, and lifted until he sat belted into a once, moments before, perfectly clean bucket seat.
But he was still alone. His right knee lifted inside his wrinkled jeans and then this left, his half opened eyes watched the tips of muddy, white, tennis shoes.