Walked Over (2019)

I Walked Over and Asked If I Could Sit With You

September 2019

I walked over and asked if I could sit with you because I saw you were sitting alone. I saw how positive you were when you were talking with the barista and you were laughing at her jokes. I walked over and asked if I could sit with you because I’ve seen you sit at the same table in this library, as everyone else walks by your wheelchair and thinks it’s best not to stop and ask how you’re doing or if there is anything they can do to help you.

I felt tears starting to form in my eyes when I looked up from what I was reading and saw that you were using your tongue to type a message in your phone and when you wanted to get your calculator you had to use your teeth to unzip your backpack. I take those things for granted, but I never will again.

I walked over and asked if I could sit with you because you are stronger than I could ever hope to be, and I felt that I had so much to learn from even just sitting at the same table as someone as resilient as you.

I found it impossible to focus on my homework when I could spend that same time and write you this note. I wanted to offer help when you were trying to turn the page of your textbook, but I didn’t want to imply you couldn’t handle things yourself; I wanted to lend a hand, but in that moment the best thing I could do was just sit there and be your friend.

I walked over and asked if I could sit with you because I imagine too many people are afraid to. I imagine there are days that feel as if the world is stacked against you and everything is falling apart. I imagine you want answers to questions that you ask every day, and I would imagine you want to know why other people don’t have to ask those same questions, too.

I hope I made a difference, I don’t care how small or slight. I hope I helped you think, “I guess I’m not alone in life.” Maybe the next time I walk by that table, I’ll see that someone else asked if they could sit with you—but regardless I’ll walk over and ask if I can sit there, too.