They walk side by side, connected and separate. With one hand, he holds her elbow, with the other, his white cane. She is a person he would trust with his soul. She says, “Why do you pull back on my arm? Don’t you trust me?”
He says, “Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware. I do trust you. It’s just that, well, fear comes first, then trust. Fear is an instinct; trust is learned.”
“But it feels like you don’t trust me.”
“Oh, I trust you all right,” he says. It’s blindness I don’t trust. Give me a white cane, give me a guide dog, I’ll get by. But I still have fear. I have fear because I can’t trust my eyesight anymore. Call it a crisis of faith.”
“Trust is the triumph of faith over fear,” she says.
They walk on. He pulls even with her, to show trust.
“I don’t like to say this, but I see you, when you’re alone, walking with your cane, you’ve got your head bowed and your shoulders hunched and your face all scrunched up. You look like a gnarly old man.” When he doesn’t respond, she says, “Oh, Honey, it’s not your fault. I just wonder why.”
She looks at him closely; he looks far away. Then he says, “I don’t like to say this, but you just don’t know, you may never know. And I don’t blame you for not knowing. I didn’t know until I knew. Now I can’t forget.”
They melt into shadows; they shine under street lamps. She draws her elbow, the one with his hand, closer to her body. He feels her warmth, her fear, her faith. “Let’s consider this a practice run,” she says.
“And work on style points next time?” he says, glancing at her.
They turn the corner. “More than style,” she says, “it’s faith and trust.” She guides them toward that one bright light he cannot see but which, for both of them, means home.