“My house is just around the corner. Humor a blind guy so I don't have to deal with a guilty conscience.” He smiles, and a dimple pops on one side of his face. His expression is precious – five years old and fifty in the same second.
I almost tell him that I know his house is nearby, that I recognize him. We worked on a project together at his house, once upon a yesteryear. It was soft and home-y, and his mom made us cookies like a fifties housewife. He could still see back then, at least a little bit. Instead, I sigh. He probably doesn't remember, and I don't want him to.
“Considering I nearly ran you over, I suppose I could allow that. Can't not humor a blind man.”
He smiles again, and I bite my lip.
“Come along. I'll get that wound all cleaned up and then you can be on your merry way, if you'd like.”
I watch him see the path with his cane as he strolls in front of me. He's more graceful and at ease than I am with nearly full sight. It's almost impossible to walk and steer my bike with only one hand, the other cradled to my chest, but I don't have another option. It's quiet again until we reach the street corner.
“So, miss, would you like to explain to me your reckless driving?” He's trying to pretend to be stern, but he's failing miserably.
“The sidewalk was clear as far as I could see.” I shrug, then remind myself that he can't see any gestures I make. “I guess I zoned out a little too much.”
“Well, I'll let you off with a warning this time. But only this time, you hear me?”
“Yes, officer.” I play along.
“Good. We're here,” he says, stopping in front of a little brick house.
I want to ask him how he knows. Is it memory? Does he count the sidewalk blocks? The number of steps he takes? I'm curious, but I'm still too embarrassed to show it. Instead, I simply say, “Okay.”
He strides up the front walk, barely using his cane, and reaches in his pocket for his key. He gropes the door for a moment, trying to find the knob. It hurts me to watch and not help, but I read somewhere that you have to let people do what they can for themselves. A moment more of fumbling and he opens the door. His ears are pink as he closes the door after me – maybe I should have.