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The Blind Man

Flash fiction

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An elderly blind man arrived in front of me groping along. He must be of around fifty or fifty-five. He had been using a stick in his hand as the only tool for finding his way. He had been carrying a small old ragged woolen bag on one of his shoulders.

I could not resist myself for long, and asked him, “Where are you trying to go, grandpa?” I had by now well understood that he was finding it difficult to get the way to his destination.

“I wanna go to the toilet,” in a bit quirky tone he said.

I knew that he was heading towards the opposite direction from where the public lavatory was at that area of the town. So, his plight sprang a feeling of sympathy for him in my heart. I wanted to help him.

“That’s not the right direction, grandpa,” I proposed him, “Come with me. I will take you there.”

“No, …No!” He screamed angrily, and brandished his stick vigorously to apprehend me away from him. “Go away, you son of bitch! I don’t need your help.”

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Parshu Shrestha

I was stunned at his reaction. I looked around and felt that some people were looking at me. I felt humiliated and embarrassed. I hated that man. “What an ungrateful man he is!” I said to myself.

“Surely, he must have been cheated by somebody, taking advantage of his blindness.” I thought after a while, “He must have been alert that that might repeat again. Poor him! Even people with sight are easily cheated nowadays.”

I had still a feeling of respect for him, but no courage to propose my help again.

The lavatory must be almost fifty metres away from my fruit shop. The man headed towards it with frequent taps of the stick to the ground. Then, I was focused to a customer’s calling for me.

As I had almost forgotten the old man, he arrived in front of my shop again. He was redirected to the south, the opposite of the lavatory, in the north.

“How fast he has returned!” I thought, as he almost collided with a chubby woman walking along who at first was startled to see a blind man with stick in front of her. Then, she asked him sympathetically, “Where are you going, grandpa.”

“Going to toilet,” answered him again.

“You are heading to the opposite direction,” said she, and turned the man to the north and went along her way.

That man arrived in front of my shop the second time, tapping the ground with the tip of his stick. I watched him with sympathy, but could not propose my help to him this time.

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