The late evening walk from the Boston Garden to the Park Street Station was always an enjoyable one, especially after a Bruins win. He usually grabbed a slice at Halftime Pizza on the corner of Causeway and Friend Street, then walked along the dark Friend, wallet front pocketed, alert to any threat lurking in a doorway or alley. Once out to Congress Street headed toward Boston City Hall, things got brighter and there were always lots of cars and cabs around to suppress the crime rate.
Climbing the long stairs from Congress up on to the large, red brick field surrounding City Hall felt good, but it was mostly a head down exercise. The architecture of City Hall looks like it was designed for a 1970’s version of “Batman” by a set designer inspired by only a cinder block and a bad interpretation of Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s better to simply avoid eye contact and focus on the red bricks under foot.
With the lifeless rectangles of brick passing below, he thought about his family… his children, and the love of his life. It didn’t take concious thought. They were always “there” and always would be. He remembered that article about November being “write a novel month,” or something like that. Would he ever muster the courage to try? A couple of guys waited to cross Tremont Street as he approached. A stream of taxi’s passed and when the sizzling sound of rotating rubber skimming wet pavement faded, he didn’t wait for the light and blew past the pair. He thought mid-stride if that was rude. They didn’t say anything, so apparently not. Much of that stretch of Tremont is under cover, so the last misty wringing of clouds would not freshen his face. As he approached two sauntering women from behind, one white and one black, he swayed a bit away from them so not to startle. They were talking about a show they’d just seen. They liked it. It made them think. The best kind.
With the Granary Burial ground on the right, he could see the subway stop ahead and sped his stride. Just a quick hop across Park Street and he’d soon be in a sideways seat heading home. He took a quick look to his left to check traffic and saw a taxi turning the corner. Instantly a mis-step sent him lurching forward without balance. Taxi inertia and head gravity met at an exact point in space. There was no time for a highlight reel of life. Later, pensive workers moved him from the cold, wet slab to a dry one.
I’m not sure why that story popped into my head Thursday night. I’ve been thinking about a sick friend lately. Death isn’t being suddenly kind to him. It’s teasing and tormenting. It’s inflicting horrific physical pain on my friend, and worse mental anguish on him and all who love him. Death has many faces and infinite creativity. I’m pretty sure I want to see it coming. I want some time to think about it…
I stopped short of the curb. The taxi passed. A wonderful life would continue to.