The Empty Wheel Chair


While Aki keeps the Juneau home safe from dogs, cats, and other intruders, I’m up in Anchorage at writer’s school. It rained hard all night, which didn’t keep the seagull perched outside my dorm window from screaming me awake at 4:30 in the morning. Maybe it wanted me to see the pink and pearl sunrise that promised sunshine in the future.2

Now up, I ride my bicycle toward the Campbell Creek bike trail, past a new-looking wheel chair that sat near a front-yard fire ring. While riding the trail to where it dead ends on Dimond Boulevard, I think about the wheel chair when I should be looking for wandering bears or grazing moose. Had a paraplegic used the chair to sit close to the fire until suffering a heart attack? Was he carried into an ambulance by paramedics? Does the empty chair serve as a memorial of his death? Or is he sleeping in his bed while morning stun makes the wet chair steam?3

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