Sunday, October 19, 2008

Running water. That was what I heard, a strange sound to hear in the shelves of books and novels and pages and ink.

I had dozed off, never really realizing it until I had woken up to the sound of running water.

Things were out of focus. Even with glasses, plastic pressed against the bridge of my nose, minutes passed before I could her face out clearly..

She was old, elderly. The roundness of her eyes and face, the care etched into every cell and wrinkle, her sun visor attached to her head at an angle, sideways, clumsy. She had down syndrome.

It's strange for me to utter that, stranger than the running water. Down syndrome.

She was focused entirely on something, a crossword puzzle it turned out.

I saw the strain but the excitement of challenge, being on the hunt. I saw the triumph, success. It was more in her eyes than in her smile.

But it was fleeting, momentary. Words escaped her so easily.

And I wondered if she ever found what she was looking for, elusive words and phrases and something else entirely.

And I wondered if I was any different.

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