Around the corner of the building at SJSU this morning comes a pair of legs with two strong hands clasped around a stack of boxes. It looks like a homemade robot as it lurches to a halt round the turn. A large backpack, a coffee and a bag dangle from arms and a hand. Boxes of medium and small-size fit loosely together, and are piled up above the face. But I recognize the hair. Immediately, I unzip my camera case and pull for the lens cap,
But, no, an assistant rushes over to help the box lady.
“Don’t help her!” I urge, getting closer and focusing. “Hey, step back!”
But he’s a good man who ignores me completely and helps Ms. J. by taking half the load. There’s her smiling face, so, as they head upstairs, I walk along side, admitting my human depravity. “Hey, that was a portrait! It was teacher. Yes, I’m bad. I cared more for an image in that moment, than for helping a fellow human being.”
She shrugs and takes the stairs to ready for Power & Poetry, her class at SJAWP Writing Workshop.
I’m still seeing her arrival. Boxes. A pile almost as tall as she is. Prep for today’s discovery and deep thinking for her class. It’s a portrait in my mind.
Here’s a drawing of her I made later.