The woman with the wheelchair-bound husband
is losing kindness in front of the elevators. We are standing
in the car she has been waiting for
for what seems like hours. We are thinking
of inconsequential things – sandwich, cookies,
coffee, weekend – clutching our wallets close to our chests,
while the woman holds what’s left of her kindness
on the palm of her hand and lets it go.
I thought patients are priority here, she screams the moment
the doors open, and the elevator attendant offers her apologies,
a kindness the size of a thimble. We are only capable
of a little kindness: breakfast served promptly
at seven in the morning, a window seat offered
during the bus ride home. A touch of the hand,
to signify commiseration. The woman looks at us
with contempt. All of you people can walk, she says.
Our hands are empty. Here are our legs, we wanted to say.
But we are not kind enough.
Eliza Victoria is the author of Lower Myths (Flipside Publishing, 2012), The Viewless Dark (Flipside Publishing, 2012), and the short story collection A Bottle of Storm Clouds (Visprint, 2012). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in several online and print publications in the Philippines and elsewhere. For more information, visit elizavictoria.com.