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The longest walk

First-Person

Posted: August 10, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 10, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

There are certain jobs that are unpleasant, that few would want to do but because society demands it, they have to be done and someone has to do them.

I remember that day years ago and I remember exactly how I felt, but I knew what had to be done:
The California sky seemed particularly low that morning. I had the feeling I could raise my arms and push it higher. It was a flat, gray, lifeless sky, perfectly suited for my task — something that I was not looking forward to.

We stood on either side of him. I held his right arm while Jacob held the other.

I looked across at Jacob’s grim face and wondered if he was feeling the same emotional suffering I was experiencing.

“Get on with it,” I thought, “It’s got to be done.”

Our trio moved slowly, not quite in unison. Jacob and I had to urge him forward as his steps began to falter.

I couldn’t bring myself to look directly at his face but a sideward glance assured me that he was near collapse.

Except for an occasional deep sigh, he was silent.

Slowly, with what seemed great effort, we moved down the hall.

It was only forty feet to the door but it seemed like forever.

Now and then I heard a slight whimper. He began to shuffle rather than walk and we were now dragging him forward.

He relaxed, collapsed as if unconscious, but he was not unconscious. It was passive resistance and I understood.

I understood that he knew we were approaching the door at the end of the hall.

We were getting close. His body quivered now and then but we continued.

He suddenly jerked his arm and I looked down into eyes that seemed to cry out: “Don’t do this, please, don’t do this!”

I quickly looked away. I glanced at Jacob who, although the hall was cool, was sweating heavily.

The door was now upon us and as we opened it he saw the chair. He let out a gasp and began to wiggle and tried in vain to pull his arms away as we lifted him into the chair.

It was rather simple now. Just a few straps and some adjustments.

He stopped pulling and squirming. Tears ran down his cheeks and his eyes peered upward and then closed.
It seemed agonizingly slow but was actually over rather quickly.

I looked into Jacob’s eyes and knew that he too was glad that it was over — Billy had finally gotten his first haircut.

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