Friday, December 30, 2005

Family Vehicle

I was waiting at the bus-stop, again. It was a relatively quiet day, cold but not too windy. I noticed a wheelchair coming my way in the bike lane. My attention was mostly drawn by the little chap in the bright red track suit who was ensconced on his grandmother's broad lap as she was pushed along in the wheelchair. Like so many Chinese youngsters this time of year, he was so rugged up that he was like a starfish on the beach, and he just lay there. I was smiling at him and trying to catch his eye - as one does with these placid youngsters - and I glanced up at the proud grandmother who had such a firm hold on him. It was only as they drew alongside me that I noticed the grandfather - probably the owner of the wheelchair - on whose lap they were both sitting. He had a grey wheezy look about him, and I wondered how on earth he breathed or whether his poor old heart could pump blood along his crushed veins.

Then I saw the daughter - mother of the child, I suppose - who was pushing the wheelchair, taking her family for a walk in the brisk air. She was brown-skinned from hours of outdoor labour, obviously as strong as an ox, but also proud and happy. She gave me a broad gap-toothed grin as she passed and strode on down the street to ... I wonder where she was taking them?

Once again, I had didn't have a camera ready, so I drew a sketch from memory:

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