Profiles in Courage
From the opposite end of the parking deck I saw him lying there, the concrete below stained red. Rows of concrete pillars stood as silent observers, like the other people in our building who might have walked by without stopping. I had worked late and there were only a few parked cars in sight. I checked my phone but there was no cell service.
My better judgement prodded me, warning me to keep my distance. Was this curiosity, foolishness, or heroism? Even still, I crossed over to check his pulse.
The mailbox wouldn’t close, but I left the note in there anyway. I could almost hear his grouchy yell from the rocking chair on his porch, though I knew it was empty this morning. His car hadn't left the driveway across the street from mine in weeks, and one of the tires had gone flat. There was a cloud of flies buzzing over a box of rotting vegetables at his front door.
“I’m here if you need me,” my card said in looping cursive.
“I don’t,” my neighbor would lie.
The screen was filled with backlit, foreign symbols, the harsh light illuminating my fear. Teacher wanted us to upload our schoolwork from home, but I couldn’t understand it. Before I had woken up, mother had already left for work, and my sister's face turned purple every time I asked her a question. Hemmed in by the digital distance and the language barrier, I felt my throat tighten.
While my sister was out back with her boyfriend, I took her phone and dialed Teacher’s number.