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Among the things she knew, she couldn’t let him go. The sun blanched the dun colored stucco, the shadow of the street lamp swayed in the wind. She wore a NYFD baseball cap; he a shirt with a front pocket with two pens.

She watched him lift himself from the wheelchair onto the bumper of the old Honda. He lifted and folded the chair and put it in the trunk. “How do you do that?” she asked. Her voice swiped at the air playfully.

“I just do this,” he said. He was a math teacher, once a mechanical engineer. Leaning against the car, he walked to the driver’s side and opened the door. He could walk—with the movements of a marionette.

“Text me when you get home,” she said.

An old man with washed eyes and green nails pushed himself down the sidewalk opposite. It wasn’t clear if he wanted to enter the café on the corner. Two 28 year olds, sorority faces flashing, drifted by on a bike. “We’re not sober,” shouted the one steering and one or the other choked laughter. A mother pushing a stroller, pink baby doll staring out indifferently (and yet smiling on the outside), the child in her arms held like a medium-sized tuna just sabotaged. And then a girl, 12, shriveled and stunted by radiation given against Leukemia, pushed along the brick pavement by her mother, who always smiles, not indifferently or falsely but only to sway the darkness. The girl wore fluffy pink socks.

The girl in the NYFD hat pushed off toward the corner, but when she heard the Honda’s engine, she turned the chair around and pushed herself to the passenger side door. She knocked on the window. “But what will you do when you get home?” she asked, and she let her eyes smile. She hadn’t quite done so all their day together and now they begged to hold on.

One thought on “Nathaniel Popkin – Wheels

  1. Pingback: A CONVERSATION WITH NATHANIEL POPKIN by Roberta Fallon | Cleaver Magazine

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