Ill-Equipped

By , Evanston, IL
Everything came back in a blur. It was very early in the morning. When Frank slipped out outside into the dark, he felt a cool mist. For whatever reason, he could not sleep. He vaguely recalled the man was wearing a dark coat and fedora. As the solid glow of an orange man warned Frank not to cross, he darted in front of oncoming traffic, causing several drivers to slam on their brakes suddenly. As he reached the bus just as the doors were closing, he heard the man (whoever he was) shouted, almost angrily, for Frank not to cross. Naturally, Frank ignored the man and went on with his day. He thought to himself: The man was just a crazy stranger going through his mid-life crisis, right? The world must be filled to the brim with its share of the insane. So Frank quickly dismissed the man’s apparent concern…until now.

He couldn’t help but think about the man who called him out for crossing the street when he shouldn’t have. Was there something Frank was missing or was the man truly a mean-spirited, lonely man who felt compelled to judge choices made by others? As Frank pondered the intentions of the man, he came to the simple conclusion that the man was a truly compassionate person. He had cared enough for Frank to point out the potential harm that might come as a result of crossing the street in the midst of oncoming traffic. The blood red sun was slowly rising from beyond the horizon and Frank could not help but feel miserable. He had shrugged off a stranger who had simply critiqued the rationality of Frank’s decision out of concern.

Soon, Frank’s wife, Mary, awoke and she came out to the porch to see what was bothering Frank. If there was one thing she had learned in their 32 years of marriage, it was that whenever he awoke early, something was troubling his mind. He explained the situation to her and acknowledged that he had been quick to judge the stranger and dismiss him as little more than a common nuisance. She suggested that he return the following day to apologize and perhaps even make amends. So the next day when Frank stood out waiting for the bus and he saw the man across the street, he called to the stranger and thanked him for what he had done the day before. However, when Frank got on the bus and glanced back across the street, searching among passersby, he could not find the man.





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