Others

Sometimes, we see a person in a single moment, and we know who they are. Belinda saw the young man on his phone, talking. She didn’t listen to what he said. She didn’t need to listen. There he was, walking swiftly through the door, paying her no mind. She didn’t matter to him. All he cared about was his phone, that stupid little piece of glass and metal glued to his ear as though it — not the old lady behind him, struggling with three full bags of new clothes — was all that mattered to him; as though that thing that all the younger generation gets stuck on were actually more important than here, a living, breathing person, someone deserving of respect simply by virtue of the fact that she existed. He didn’t hold the door for her, and she knew, in that moment, that he was a bad person; a weak person; someone who cared only about himself and not the others around him.

What she didn’t know, because she didn’t take the moment to consider — she didn’t stop to listen or think — was that Garrison did not ignore her, intentionally. Garrison didn’t care about his phone, but about the person on the other end. He walked so swiftly, so intently, because that person meant the world to him — she was his world, in fact; without her he couldn’t imagine his world existing as it did now. Yet here she was, calling to talk to him, and cry, because she had almost just left the world thanks to a pickup truck driver whose mind, like Garrison’s now, was elsewhere. So Garrison didn’t hold the door open for an old lady, because to him, in that moment, his pregnant wife in the hospital meant so much more.

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