Benchy Island and Broken Things (2)

 I was out for a walk just kind of wandering with the intent to find lunch somewhere along the way, but just kind of exploring the area. I noticed a handsome guy in the distance.  I gotta admit, I didn’t mind hanging back just to enjoy the view when I noticed something. He appeared to be blind, the tell-tale sign of the sweeping motion of his cane kinda gave it away. That didn’t matter to me, that sort of thing never mattered to me. I kept walking, maintaining the distance, I didn’t want to seem creepy like I was following him. Suddenly, something seemed off, the solid cane, suddenly collapsed into dangly sections.

“Oh dear, this can’t be good.” I thought to myself. I watched as he managed to find his way to a picnic table that was just off the sidewalk. I suddenly found myself in a bit of a conundrum. I wanted to help, but would it be condescending to approach the guy and offer help? Maybe he would be able to sort this out quickly? I don’t know anything about the visually impaired and their equipment, maybe it is an easy fix? I kinda sat back for a bit, googling things on my phone about disability etiquette, so that I’d maybe feel okay about stepping in to help him? I mean, that is if he even needs my help in the end. Maybe he has a spare, although, it could be like wearing shoes. You always need to wear a pair of shoes when you are out and about in the world, but who keeps a spare pair of shoes in their car or on their person? It just isn’t something people typically do, so maybe he doesn’t have a spare cane. “You are such an overthinker, Tulip!” I tell myself, but I guess it is just what I do. Minutes go by as I google and watch to see if he can sort this on his own or if maybe I should step in to help. He starts to look a bit panicked. I wouldn’t blame him. So I begin to make my approach, hoping that I don’t overstep my boundaries and that I don’t make him feel like I think he’s a helpless injured bird.

 “Hey, you look lost, do you need some help?” I asked.

Startled, he looked up and replied, “Yeah, actually, I kinda do. It seems that I am stranded on Benchy Island because my trusty cane, became not so trusty. Would you mind helping me out? I’m Bear, by the way.” Bear held out his hand.

“Bear, nice to meet you, I’m Tulip,” I said as I shook his hand.

“How can I help you?” I asked.

“Well, Tulip,  if you don’t mind, I was on my way to lunch when this little disaster struck. Would you mind going with me to get lunch and then walk me back to  my office, if it isn’t too much to ask?”

I looked at him and felt for him, he looked so unsure, I’m not sure that I would have been all that confident in myself either if I were him.

I responded, “Oh, sure, no problem, I haven’t had lunch yet, so that works out perfect for me! Did you want to stop and eat lunch there?”

Bear looked painfully shy as he answered me. “Oh, sure yeah, I mean if you have time, I don’t want to inconvenience you any more than I already am. I’m asking you to be my human guide dog, I don’t want to overstep my boundaries. I mean, if you can take the time to eat there, I would appreciate it.”

I smiled, not that he could see it, but I smiled at him. It must have taken a lot to not only ask me for help but to trust me as well. He is so darn adorable. I wonder if he realizes that? Not that guys necessarily want to be thought of as “adorable” but it is a plus in my book.

I may have been a little flirty in my tone when I replied, “Believe me, it is no problem. I am off work today and was just walking this way to go grab something to eat, so there are no time restraints to worry about, I’m all yours!”

He instructed me what to do and while he went over a few basics, I was glad I googled a few things to help me feel a little more confident about being a sighted guide because I could tell he was rather nervous as we took off. I gave him a pat on the arm to hopefully reassure him. “Don’t worry,  I’m an expert in avoiding man-eating manholes! I haven’t fallen in one yet!”

“Well, I guess that means I should relax a bit, huh? If I’m with an expert manhole avoider, then what do I have to worry about?” He gave my arm a gentle squeeze to accentuate his words. He still felt rather tense, but we had only travelled, like ten feet, so that wasn’t far enough to prove my mettle.  He began to engage in small talk. This handsome guy just looked so nervous. I wondered if it was me that made him nervous or the whole situation. I hoped he would relax soon because it was starting to make  me tense. I scouted the area as we chatted trying to figure out where we should go when my stomach growled, loudly.

“Oh, excuse me!” I cried out nervously, “I’m sorry my stomach decided to yell at us.”

He laughed. “No worries, I think that means that we should make a decision sooner, rather than later before it isn’t man-eating manholes I have to worry about, but your hangry stomach!”