Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

-6 adventure

I noticed an older woman today trying to hail a cab which didn’t stop for her. She was wincing a bit and I thought maybe she might need a phone to call a cab  so asked after her if she was ok. It turned out she had twisted her ankle and was stuck, movement proving difficult. She needed to go only two blocks and could I walk her?

It was a bit of tricky tricky moment. I had my child waiting for me to turn up, was somewhat late, it was -6 and I knew he’d been out for a while and would have not put his gloves on. My instinct as a mother is towards my child and not putting him in a situation of unnecessary anxiety.  In order to help this woman she’d have to detour with me a further two blocks so I could collect my son before bringing her home. That would be extra blocks on her busted ankle.

I turned and pleaded with another woman passing — could she please help this woman to go two blocks up the hill? Amazingly, the woman agreed. I reached out and rubbed her on the arm in gratitude explaining I was running to fetch my child and so on.  I left, but had a sinking feeling I hadn’t done the right thing but ran to the school and hailed my gloveless, frozen son who said he’d a sore  throat and a headache and a grumbling tum. This meant the music lesson we were racing to would have to be cancelled. I told him put his gloves on that we had to go and look for this old woman with the busted ankle.

We doubled back a different route and sure enough there she was, they had not gotten far she was moving painfully slowly. I relieved the woman I’d asked to help since she had been heading in the opposite direction, probably needing to get a bus and said we’d bring the woman the rest of the way home.

What followed was something akin to childbirth. By now the woman’s ankle could barely support her, so I took some of her weight across my shoulder by wrapping her arm around my neck. She tried hopping. But progressively the further up the hill we got the more she gasped in pain. We stopped. We took it v slow, but the pain was progressive. Behind us my son was kicking at the snow playfully. The hill got steeper, the woman got heavier and heavier and her eyes were getting teary with the pain. We were about half a block from where she lived when things became acute. By this point another man had joined us and had the other side of her. I kept telling her she was doing great, almost there, if she couldn’t go on we’d stop and get an ambulance, we could knock on a door and get a chair and she could sit.

The final stretch was so challenging. She kept squeezing her face and whispering how bad the pain was, it hurts so much she kept saying and I felt a bit foolish with the weight of this woman across me and the hill we’d hauled her up when in fact quite possibly we should have just figured out a better alternative at the bottom like an ambulance or some such. The progress became minimal. And yet the steps of where she lived where visible to us now. I will not forget her poor face that moved between the sense of abandonment and despair and then into the desire to go on until the pain would register again.

I cheered, I championed, I invoked, it was exactly like childbirth since I resorted to invoking all kinds of things to get her to those steps because I could. The victory of bringing her to the door and handing her over to the care staff of the facility was quite beautiful amid the weatherly contortion of -6. She asked would we come in and have tea with her, but I said my boy was not well and I had to get him home. Her gratitude followed me down the path as i gave my son a big hug, thanked him for his patience and said now we would get him a hot drink. We linked arms, wandered back down the hill, discussed the adventure and planned how we’d attend to his maladies.  These are the kinds of transactions I love to have on the street.  There were five of us in it, we figured it out and we triumphed collectively despite being pulled in a multitude of directions and needs. I am always amazed at how some of the most meaningful interactions one has are in the company of complete strangers on the street.

2 Responses to “-6 adventure”

  • Lori W. says:

    Good on you! It’s a mitzvah–a good deed that will return back to you.

  • mrsokana says:

    Thanks, the woman who really did the good deed was the first woman who stepped in and helped her that first part of the way …

    I was so moved by the way the injured woman carried on, she wasn’t in a good way and if I were her I would have sat on the frozen pavement and wailed ….

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