The Most Obvious Thing on Earth

My knees are scuffed up from Wednesday.

Nice, big, pink scuffs that ache when I bend my knees and smart when I get water on them. And these scuffs, I love them.

Wednesday, I was walking home from a long bus ride. My suitcase was rolling along behind me, my eyes were up ahead. I never saw the plastic wrap on the pavement.

Feet ensnared in plastic, balance wrenched around, my suitcase and I soared through space, and returned to earth with a great thump.

On earth, there was a man in a white shirt. He’d run over when he saw me go soaring. Are you okay? he wanted to know. A girl in a sundress picked up my sunglasses and purse, brought them to me.

The two placed careful hands on my arms and got me standing again. Are you okay? they asked as they lifted me and asked again as I stood without their support. I was banged up, thrown off, throbbing here, stinging there. And I wasn’t okay.

How could you be just okay when two strangers were the ones who got you standing again?

I don’t know what happened, I told them, but thanks.

The man pointed to the plastic wrap. That happened, he said. He grabbed it and dropped it in a trash bin. The girl rolled my suitcase to me. Another woman came over to tell me my headphones were dangling out of my purse. I don’t want you to trip on them, she said.

I thanked her, the man, the girl. Of course, of course, they said, like it was the most obvious thing on earth. Then they each went back to their day.

I went back to mine with a little limp and two scuffed knees. And as I went back, I made a little note to self: Of all the things you forget, don’t let this be one. When your knees ache and smart, and later when they scab over then scar, remember this Wednesday when three people lifted up a fallen stranger like it was the most obvious thing on earth.

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