Bear sat on the picnic bench that he managed to stumble into and just growled at the sky. He was having a day. Like, it just was not his day. He had a couple of clients that lost their patience with him, even though he explained that sometimes, things did take a little longer for him to do. They apparently, couldn’t wrap their small minds around it. He was skilled at what he did, but they couldn’t get past what they perceived as limitations and now this.
He held the useless bundle in his hands. He tried to salvage it, but the cord inside that held his cane together was just shot to pieces. For weeks, he knew it was threatening to go, but he just too busy to stop to deal with it. He had an extra in his office and he had an extra one at home. He kept meaning to grab a backup cane to put in his bag, but he just kept forgetting to do it. So, now, due to all those things, he was stuck. He knew where he was, but basically, he felt like he was stranded on an island, the island that he now called “Benchy Island”
He was pretty sure could make his way back to the bus stop, and from there, he could take the bus down the short ride back to his office building. Maybe he could, maybe, but Bear wasn’t 100% confident about that. He really didn’t want to shuffle along the sidewalk, trying to keep a foot on the border between the grass and the pavement, so he didn’t wander too far off course. He felt like he would appear to be some sort of lurching zombie using that method, and he just was not up to those levels of embarrassment. He sat there with his head in his hands. He was screwed. He could call his sister, to come find him, but he didn’t want to deal with her. First, he would have to figure out exactly where he was and then he would deal with her chewing him out for not having an extra cane on him. She had always been overprotective of him for as long as he could remember, even before losing his sight as a child. He was in no mood to deal with her henpecking. He could call his best friend, but he was working and he really didn’t want to do that either.
He ruffled his hair and looked side to side, just out of habit mostly. He could see light and dark, and on a good day, some blurry forms, but nothing helpful at this moment. He closed his eyes and just sighed. He sat there for a good ten minutes, wondering what he was going to do as his lunch hour ticked away. Luckily, he had a few granola bars in his bag to help quell the growling in his stomach, but he still needed to figure out how and if he was going to get lunch and how he was going to get back to the office. A moment later, someone walked up to him.
“Hey, you look lost, do you need some help?” a bubbly, feminine voice asked.
Startled, Bear 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,” she said as she shook his hand.
“How can I help you?”
“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?” he asked, somewhat timidly, because he was afraid he was asking too much of a stranger.
“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 a little shy as he answered her. “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.”
Tulip smiled as she observed how shy he had become. She figured it was a big deal to ask so much of a stranger, but she really didn’t mind. Especially since he was so doggone adorable!
“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!”
Bear wasn’t sure, but he could have sworn that she was being a bit flirty with him. With the day he was having, he was sure he was mistaken and tried to shrug off that thought.
“Okay, great, thank you so much! Okay, I’m going to assume you have never been a sighted guide before, so let me just brief you on what I need you to do to help me. First, tap the back of my hand with the back of yours so that I know you are ready. I’ll slide my hand up to just above your elbow. As we walk, just let me know if there are any obstacles, a big crack in the sidewalk that will trip me, also let me know if we are, approaching a curb or anything like that. Normally, I’d have my cane in front of me to help out since you are new to this, but well, pardon the pun, but I’m flying blind this time around.” he chuckled nervously. He then wanted to smack his head, because making someone feel like they aren’t trusted isn’t the best way to make a first impression. It was just a classic, nervous, brain fart. He was rattling the facts and forgot to put her at maximum ease. He hoped that she didn’t feel like he thought that she was going to crash him into a brick wall. Just as he was lost in his swirling thoughts, he felt a gentle tap on the back of his hand.
“Alright, Mr.Bear, I’m ready if you are!” chirped Tulip.
Bear slid his hand up her elbow, said a quick prayer that he hadn’t screwed things up and followed her lead.
♥♥♥ To be continued… ♥♥♥