It’s one of those perfect May days when not a cloud is in the sky, and the temperature is so mild, it makes every joint and every muscle in my body feel happy that winter is far behind. I’m glad I decided not to take the bus to go up to Times Square where I’m meeting some friends from out of town. I turn the wheels of my wheelchair with my leather gloved hands, in rhythmic motions, so carefree I’m enjoying every crack and every bump on the 8th Avenue sidewalk.
The light turns red, and I have to stop at 34th Street. I stretch my arms, straighten my shoulders and take a deep breath of wonderful May air, deliberately oblivious of pollution and car exhaust.
Suddenly I hear a man say: “I hope you soon get rid of that wheelchair.”
He must be talking to me. There are no other wheelchair users around. Without even looking at him I say: “I have no intention of getting rid of this wheelchair.” Why would I, I love it and, though I've had it for a number of years, it's still in great shape.
“You mean your condition cannot be cured?” the man asks.
I don't answer him.
“What is you condition, may I ask?”
Now I wish the light would change. “You may not,” I say.
“Well, whatever your condition is, I’ll pray for you to be cured.”
The light is about to change and I grab my wheels ready to take off. “I don't need to be cured,” I say.
“Very brave of you to say that,” the man says as the light changes.
I give my wheels a few strong turns and leave him behind. “I'll pray for you anyway!” he yells.