Magazine article The Antioch Review

Charlie

Magazine article The Antioch Review

Charlie

Article excerpt

Half an hour before the bus left Detroit, the depot was peaceful. No one, just then, had more children than hands. No odor we had to pretend not to notice. The lady whose underwear kept spilling out of her sack was on her way to Toledo. Duffel bags, coolers, held orderly lines and we chatted as sandwiches slowly turned in their windows.

When the blind man tapped his cane, we cleared his path, saw him safe in a chair, his cane tucked under one arm. We almost forgot he was there, and so the voice surprised us: small and flat, repeating every five seconds, "I am deaf and blind. Please help me."

"I am deaf and blind. Please help me." A little louder, insistent, "I am deaf and blind. Please help me." One hand on his tape recorder, his other hand felt the air around him.

Last week, two girls in a pick-up ran their hands through their hair like that, looking around, and it was easy, anyone could see what they were looking for. …

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