Thomas pushed the button for the cross walk. He waited, and when the light changed he stepped off the curb. Using his cane to steady himself, he began the long laborious process of crossing the intersection. Two steps, pick up the cane, plant it, lean for support, breathe, two steps . . .
He felt a twinge of dismay as he noticed the light changing already. It was still a long way to the other side. Breath coming faster, he tried to pick up the pace. When had this happened to him? He remembered the days when he could sprint like a deer. Madison high school, Long Distance Champion. Ahh, the girls had been crazy about him.
Thomas was startled by the honk of a horn. Red BMW, a harried looking woman held up her hands in exasperation. Couldn’t she see he was trying? He made a quarter turn as another horn blared at him. Blue Toyota, rusty, a bunch of teenagers, and the long – haired dude on the Harley behind them was revving his engine impatiently.
Thomas shook his fist at them all and paused in confusion, momentarily forgetting which side he had come from and where he wanted to go. The motorcycle pulled out of line and swerved around the standing cars. With a roar, the bike approached and skidded to a halt on Thomas’s shadow. He winced, the rackety noise too much for his hearing aid.
I’m in for it now, Thomas thought. He’d dealt with this kind before – had his fill of them when he was a cop back in the sixties. Dangblasted hairy biker. They were always drugged up and looking for a fight. Black leather and brass knuckles. Thomas stood his ground and brandished his cane in warning.
The biker killed the engine and pulled off his dark glasses. Thomas stared. The eyes were not what he’d expected. A warm brown, they were kind, friendly even. The man smiled.
“Can I give you a lift?”
Thomas cast a wary glance at the menacing traffic, and found himself nodding. Carefully maneuvering his bum knee, he climbed aboard. Clutching his cane in one hand, he grabbed the man’s belt as the tires squealed and the bike sped out of the intersection.