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Blind Emergency

By , Okemos, MI
My whole world was vibrating, which is what I always felt like when we were in the car. I don’t know if Mom ever felt it is much I as did, she was probably too focused on the road. I wish I could see it, the road. I guess I could imagine what it would look like, but never would I ever get to see the road or even the city that surrounded us. I am blind and I’m afraid I would be like that forever unless doctors came up with a scientific miracle.

One after another came bumps and cracks in the road, making my frail body jump up and down in my seat. Cars rumbled past beside and the sound of engines and city birds filled the corners. I had the constant feeling of being trapped between all the cars and buildings that Mom told me were scraping the sky. It must have been extravagant, having all that action to see, I envied my Mom. We were in Hartford, the capitol. I only was here twice before, all I could remember was everything bustling and there was no open space to take refuge, it was all people and shops. It was a place to get my heart racing, being out of the Connecticut countryside and in a place of strangers and unknown voices. Nowhere else could be so dangerous for a blind boy like me.

A hot breath kept panting in my ear and the reeking smell of dog filled the back seat. I tried not breath for as long as I could to make sure I wouldn’t take in any of Yellow’s stench. Yellow shifted her weight to different paws, she didn’t like cities, in fact she hated all these people. Yellow was my seeing eye dog, funny thing though, is that I would never get to see her golden coat, so why give a blind kid a dog named after a color? Don’t ask me, she seems to fit her name though even though I couldn’t see her. When Mom tried to explain yellow to me, she uses the word happy a lot. That’s what Yellow is to me, a happy dog. She began panting more and more, she grew anxious the more we go drove into town. The noise and smells grew louder and richer, I could understand Yellow worry.

Mom pulled the car onto a ramp (I could sense the sudden change of angle) and we parked several stories up in the parking garage. I heard mom open her car door and slam it, mine then swung open. Mom grabbed hold of my hand; her grip was tight, telling that she was tense.

“Alex, most of the stores here won’t let Yellow in, even though she is a seeing dog. We’re going to have keep her in the car.” She then led me out of the van and closed the door. Yellow barked in protest as we walked farther away. I had a tickling worry in my mind, no Yellow, no guide. Yellow was trained to be my eyes; Mom’s hand was more tugging and had a mind of its own.

“I could have just stayed in the car.” I said, my voice echoing against the cement walls, making me jump. Mom slowed her walking.

“We have to get you more clothes; I don’t know what you would like so I’m taking you with me.” I didn’t find any sense in her answer.

“What does it matter what I like, I can’t see myself anyway, and the only time anyone except for you and Dad to see me would be at church.” I’m pretty sure Mom would turn back then but her direction kept at the entrance, pulling me along with her.

“Alex, I’ve tried so hard to make you feel normal for the past twelve years, please just humor more a day.” Her voice was sterner and her step stiffened; by this I knew I had crossed the line. We stepped out onto the busy sidewalk and were greeted by a blur of voices that were all merged together her that I could barely make out any conversations. After a few moments of walking, we turned left and crossed a street.

“How about we start at Old Navy,” Mom announced more than offered. We went through the doors and the shopping day began.

An hour later we came out with three shirts and an itchy sweater that reminded me of the rough wool of sheep back at home. We then went to the Gap and Macy’s. By lunch we had the load of two pairs of jeans, five t-shirts, three sweaters and one new pair of shoes. We usually didn’t buy this much, but Mom always got carried away when we were in town. We finally rested our limbs at taco bell, our bags surrounding the table. I chomped into a chicken quesadilla, relived that I finally could give my legs a break. Mom was silent, sipping her soda, she was most likely staring out the window, and another wave of envy came over me.

Mom suddenly stopped drinking and got up from her seat, I could sense a few other people around us do the same. Mom touched my arm lightly.

“Alex, there seems to be a fire a few blocks down, I’m going to go down and see if I can help. I need you to stay here and not get up from your seat. What ever happens don’t go anywhere, I’ll be back in a few minutes,” before I could say anything back she was off and out the door. For the first time in my life I was alone, no Yellow and no Mom. I felt overwhelmingly vulnerable, something I was well accustomed to. I did the only thing I could do, wait. I sat for maybe a half hour, finishing the rest of my lunch; once I was done I crumpled up the wrapper and stuffed it into the bag. Mom would be back soon, she wouldn’t forget me. Not even a fire could keep her away. She was so cautious all the time, I wanted it to be obvious of how annoying she could be to me, but under it all, I would be a mindless piece of flesh without her.

She was always so worried of me being teased at school. Once I hit Middle School she took me out and began to home school me. I spent my time waiting thinking about what I had left from elementary school. Early each morning, dad would wake me and Mom would take me to school before the sunlight hit my face. I learned that the birds always chattered more at that time, sometimes it got so bad I had to cover my ears. Mom would kick the trees, trying to shut up the birds, but I told her to stop, saying I liked them. Then we would head for the little building we called a school and I would have to be guided throughout my day with Yellow in the lead. Kid’s would ask if they could pet her but the teachers held them back, I hated to hear them so disappointed, so when the teachers weren’t around I’d let the brush Yellow’s golden fur, they liked me because of Yellow, not because of who I was.

The day seeped into afternoon, I could tell by the decrease of sound and people. Taco Bell was now empty except for me and what sounded to be like a couple in a corner. Boldly I got up from the seat and easily found my way to the counter.

“Excuse me,” I asked in a voice higher than my usual. “Could you tell me the time?” The cashier had fast, high pitched breathing; it was woman just a little bit younger than my mom. She pulled her sleeve and paused for a second, seeming to be a examining her watch.

“It would be a quarter to three,” she answered politely. I gave her a nod of thanks and made my way back to my seat. What was taking Mom so long? Was she helping someone who was hurt? Was she hurt? My mind raced through all these horrid scenarios of Mom on the ground, burned or dying. I had to kick myself to stop these daydreams. I then almost fell out of my seat when an alarm went off. It sputtered loud and clear big burst of noise, I covered my ears in agony. People yelled in the distance. I waited a minute but the ringing alarm didn’t cease. I felt around the ground, no one helped me up, I inferred I was alone. My heart raced and my mind blazed with confusion. I kept my ears covered and rolled into a ball on the floor. That’s when the heat came.

I first felt it come from the corners of the room, but then it came from all directions. It made my skin screamed for aid and it choked me. Without a doubt it was fire, the fire my Mom left to, had spread. I got up but I could find no ways that weren’t burning my skin. I was trapped. Something snapped and I could hear the popping of the plastic bags flaming.

“Help!” I screamed, desperate for somebody to come to my rescue. “Help! Help! Help!” I stomped on the ground and chucked the chair against a wall. I began to choke even more and my hair was wet with sweat. There had to be someone here, someone else trapped, where the employees, the couple were, how come they escaped and I didn’t. I prayed silently to God. There was no way I could get out of here without a miracle. The second I said amen, a gloved hand grabbed mine. I yelled in shock as I was pulled into the air and into the arms of a giant. He then carried out of the flames, dashing pas the fires as it licked his heels. We burst into the fresh air; my lungs took a good, long gulp of cold atmosphere. I was placed back down onto the ground; I suddenly collapsed the minute the giant let me go. By now I could tell it was a firefighter. He sat me against something solid and ran off, his footsteps fading back into the chaos of the fire.

“Alex!” My Mom’s scream was recognizable anywhere. Her light feet ran toward me and she kneeled to face me. A cold washcloth glazed over my face, it water trickling down my neck and soaking the collar of my shirt. I bet I was covered in ash. My Mom hugged me close to her shaking. I rubbed her back, trying to reassure it was alright, but I myself was beginning to slip out of shock.

“I’m so sorry; I should’ve put you back in the car…” She broke off again into tears and picked me up and set me on my feet. I could hear the clicking of her fingers against buttons, she was calling dad.

“Greg, he’s alright, he’s out…” she began to explain the last few events, he throat clogging up now and then. I turned my head toward the burning building; heat still radiated off the building and the sound of spraying water was starting to overcome the sound of burning debris. For once I was glad not to see something as well was I first thankful for a cautious, caring Mom.





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