by Cavan Terrill
by Cavan Terrill
"Vision!" cries the blind man.
He's walking towards me (not the defeated shuffle you'd expect from an old man with plastic bags around his feet and a cardboard sign draped over his tattered jacket, but something proud, upright). I look down at my own feet (last year's fad, scarred with salt stains) and hope he'll walk right on by. There's another man beside me, waiting for the bus. Fortyish. Suit. Immaculate hair that looks like it's been welded to his scalp.
The blind man slows as he reaches the station. Can he sense us here? Does he smell the presence of other people? He's mumbling under his breath, but when he finally stops in front of the businessman, his words become coherent. The cardboard sign he wears has the word 'vision' scrawled on it.
"Vision!" he cries again. "What do you see?"
"I see myself not giving you any change."
"Yes, but what do you see?"
The businessman sighs. "Sorry."
The blind man remains where he is. His gaze is fixed directly onto the face of the businessman. It's uncanny, and more than a little unnerving. I'm trying to make myself as small as possible, folding myself into the crevices of the bus station.
"Look, buddy, I don't have any change. Why don't you just move it along now?"
I see a bus coming and strain my eyes to see which number it is. I'm feeling around in my pocket, making sure my pass is at the ready. The bus approaches, stops. It's not mine. The businessman boards and I think about trailing after him. The bus leaves and it's just me and the blind man. The silence, the anticipation of what he'll say is spooking me.
I'm expecting standard sandwich-board material. You know, "The End is Nigh" and all that. Hellfire. Brimstone. Those are the kinds of visions these guys have, aren't they?
"What do you see?"
And he's looking at me. Straight on. Filmy white eyes looking directly into mine. I'm shuddering inside, looking at his eyes, at his clothes, at his feet. Knowing I shouldn't, but doing it anyway.
"Uhh...a bus stop?"
"Yes. What else?"
"I don't know. A road. Buildings. The sky."
"Yes. And what do they look like?"
I shrug, glance around the corner, hoping that my bus will be here soon. "You know, like they're supposed to. A road's flat and long and black and goes off into the distance. Buildings are tall boxy things. The sky's blue. A few clouds."
He never takes his eyes off mine while I'm talking. He stares intently. He takes a deep breath.
"Yes," he says. The word rides on his exhalation, one syllable stretched out interminably. Dissolving meaning.
I can see parts of myself reflected in his eyes. My face glinting off the corner of his eye.
My bus pulls up. His eyes firm on mine.