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On Telegraph AvenueTo Jonathan Hayes's previous piece

Crippled Boy

There is a boy. A boy in the BART station on 24th Street, in a wheelchair below the ground. His mother sells roses to the people who go up, up the escalator. The boy is dashing his chair around, like a cat wanting to get out of water. He laughs, looking up at the people. He watches them as they go up, up and away into the next day. But he is there to stay below, in his wheelchair, in the pits of depression that smell so bad, like the BART station. He wants out, out of the chair, out of the station, out of his life, and out of his skin.

I walk over to his mother and buy a rose for my love. He races towards us in his torture chair, arms spinning, head bouncing, eyes rolling and mouth foaming, then stops inches before my feet and laughs at me, the rose, and his mother.