The Woman with the Trash Can


If nothing else, I’ll remember the woman in the back parking lot of that restaurant on the hill. The woman with the trash can.

It was the second time in two months I’d almost died getting by on four wheels nailed to a piece of wood. And I guess it’s possible that’s an exaggeration, but I’m not so sure. There was an incline, a patch of gravel halfway down I hadn’t seen. I couldn’t find my good pair of glasses that morning and resigned myself to wearing the spares with the weaker prescription. Halfway down, upon reaching that gravel, the lenses shattered upon hitting the concrete, and I was positive my hip had done the same. I cursed those lenses as my torso made contact with the ground, because those lenses had everything to do with my not seeing all of those rocks. I cursed those lenses because pain isn’t so great when you’ve not prepared yourself for it, really had the time to put on that mask of stoicism.

I remember bellowing incessant “ow”s and “fucking shit”s as I writhed and bled from the same knees and palms that had finally healed two weeks prior.

And most of all, if nothing else, I remember the woman with the trash can. The woman I’d seen only after I’d spewed every established curse word, and some I’d made up on the ground. The woman that apathetically glanced at the glass and the blood, looked away, wordlessly dragged the can beside the kitchen door of that restaurant by the hill, and went inside—closing the door behind her. Her more than any of the other minor details, her more than anything else; because she couldn’t afford to care, so she didn’t.

And she had the right idea.

Because, in that moment—despite all the pain and blood and broken glass, the shards of prescription lens sticking out of my arm; the half hoping for some acknowledgment, “Are you okay?” at the very least, and the feeling of complete and total isolation I’d felt when she didn’t—I recalled that there is no such thing as altruism, how foolish I’d been believing there were. And at that moment, there was no one in this world I respected more.


  1. innercondition posted this