Crossing Eighth Avenue
I was waiting to cross 8th Avenue on 23rd Street when an elderly woman asked me if I would help her cross the street.
I waved goodbye to her, and we chatted as we walked two blocks to her apartment. At one point, we passed an elderly man using a walker.
The woman whispered to me that he lived in her building and wasn’t very nice.
After dropping her off at the entrance to her building, I passed the man with the walker. He motioned for me to stop.
“It’s good that you help her out,” he said. “No one in our building liked her. She is really mean. ”
– Paul Breen
Tell me who
Fish can’t jump
but the fish roe is stuck
on the propeller do.
And the next generation
bring the rest
Pray for me, Mister,
who are you
tell me what
I can not?
I have two legs
and a pair of shoes,
so I’ll run away
My path passes through you!
– Tom Furlong
Just one bite
My friend got a promotion at work and I took him out to dinner to celebrate.
He picked a restaurant near Union Square that we hadn’t been to before, a small place with a limited menu. That night’s special, pork Milanese, sounded delicious. That’s what I ordered when the waiter came to our table.
“I’m afraid I sold the last one,” he said, nodding toward the table next to us.
The woman sitting next to me shyly shrugged.
“Sorry!” she speaks. “I’ll give you a bite when it arrives.”
We all laughed. The waiter suggested I order pork off the regular menu, and I did.
When our neighbors’ meals arrived, I certainly didn’t look in their direction for fear the woman might think I’d misinterpreted her joke as a genuine offer.
After a few minutes, I felt her nudge me.
“Come in!” she said, sliding the plate towards me so I could stab a piece. It’s very good.
When my meal arrived later, I asked her if she wanted to try it.
“Well, that’s fair,” she said, taking a bite and chewing thoughtfully.
“Yours is better,” I said.
My friend was appalled by the exchange.
“If you two make this with dessert,” he said, “I’m leaving.”
– Timothy the deer
A shovel road
One Monday morning after a blizzard, I hopped a path from the sidewalk to the street in front of my Brooklyn home.
The road was long, and there wasn’t a good road across the snow to cross before I got there.
I was expecting a delivery: an elaborately carved, 1865 marble fireplace from a demolished East 50s townhouse. The fireplace is exquisite, and I think I would love to see it in my plain front room.
While I waited, I watched others use my path to cross the street. It became so popular that I was worried that it would be blocked when people moved in.
When they did, the path was clear. There were two of them, and they carefully unloaded the hearth into four sections and navigated the path well.
Following them inside, I suddenly heard myself shouting: The biggest and last part of the hearth had broken, and seemed about to explode.
The men staggered around in a giant cloud of dust. They say they’re sorry, that it’s not their fault – of course, it’s true.
Soon, they left, and I stood with my expensive pile of rubble. I looked at the empty wall where the beautiful old piece had disappeared. I removed large broken pieces of marble. Then there are small pieces and plaster blocks.
Finally, I dusted a paper bag. Later, I know, I will have to wipe.
All afternoon, I sat at the front window and watched my path. A woman crossed with a small dog. The passenger door of a taxi stopped, level with the opening I had made.
A man carrying a plastic bag full of empty cans passed by. And a courier pulling a cart left a trail that made my path a little wider.
– Megan Tucker Orringer
One of those days
I’m on the 79th street bus and messing around with my iPhone. It has frozen solid. On the other hand, I try to keep my walker from falling away. Just one of the days.
Opposite me is a young woman in a puffy coat and fur boots.
“Can I help?” she asked.
“Yes, please,” I say, gratefully handing over the phone. “Do you think you can fix it?”
“Oh, of course,” she said coldly. “I’m a millennium!”
And she fixed it.
– Ephraim Lewis
Illustration by Agnes Lee
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/27/nyregion/metropolitan-diary.html ‘We chatted as we walked two blocks to her apartment’