A Blind Man Named John


A blind man named John is standing in the train station.

He listens to the trains come and go. By counting the trains, he knows which one to board to get home. Only after he boards the train does he realize that he is on the wrong one. But he doesn’t get off at the next station or ask for help from the conductor; instead, he closes his eyes and falls asleep.

He wakes up to a touch on his shoulder, and the conductor’s voice. “You need to get up, sir.”

John open his eyes only to remember that he is completely blind. He uses his cane to navigate his way out of the train. “Do you need help? Do you know where you are?” John hears the conductor’s worried voice behind him. But John doesn’t reply. Instead, he keeps on walking without any idea of where he is.

John doesn’t need a watch to know it’s evening. By the internal watch in his head, he can estimate that he spent more than three hours on the train. By listening to the footsteps of the people around him, he finds the exit from the train station to the street. He uses his cane to walk in this unfamiliar place. Evening turns into night, but John, even as tired as he is, doesn’t stop walking. The sound of cars and people around him gradually lessens, until most of what he can hear are voices from houses as he passes by.

A police officer notices the blind man walking alone in the dark. “Do you need help, sir do you know where you are?”

“No, I don’t,” John replies but keeps on walking. The officer watches John walk into the darkness guided only by his cane.

The sound of birds chirping tells John that the morning had arrived, he had been walking all night. He is exhausted and thirsty. His cane hits something. It’s a mailbox. John can feel there is a narrow strip of pavement heading off the street. A driveway. He turns away from the street and walks up the driveway, hoping to find a house at it’s end.

His cane hits the front door of the house. John knocks once. The door opens immediately.

A woman’s voice greeted him, “Hey, John. I’ve been waiting for you.”

“How do you know who I am?” John asks, confused.

But the woman doesn’t answer him. Instead, John hears the sound of a revolver’s hammer drawn back. And then a shot is fired. A blind man named John is dead.

She had heard the news about the airplane crash. She knew he was on that flight. Her face and hands were still swollen. This is how he usually left her before he went on his business trips. “Be good,” he told her on his way out as she struggled to get up from the floor.

The newspaper had made a story about him—how he lost his eyesight and his memory in the crash. “A new beginning in the dark,” they had called it. But she had waited for him to find his way back home, to her, to his pigeon victim. She knew that memories cannot be erased; they can only be pushed to the back of our mind. Eventually, the recognition will resurface. And when it did, she would be ready, with the light on and a gun in hand. 

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