Obfuscate Series: 'Shadow dance' (c)T. Bush 2008
There is a tiny woman with nicotine-blonde, over-curly hair in the side-alley ahead of me. She seems unsure of which pavement to go to and is turning around and around on herself in the middle of the road. She spots me over the roof of the parked cars and immediately her small gnarled face lights up. She leaps forward, forcing me to slow and stop then stoops slightly as if bowing.
‘Isn’t the weather lovely?’ she says in a bright rehearsed voice.
I am about to agree with her. The sun is indeed glorious. We've been walking happily for hours and sweat is trickling down between my shoulder blades but the woman suddenly notices Grace and sways as if struck. She peers up at me with wide, red-rimmed eyes for a moment and then says with a curt nod. ‘Oh but never mind. You’re blind.’
‘I’m not.’ I retort hotly then sigh feeling like a plonker in my huge dark glasses and sporting a very fashionable guide dog.
‘OK just a bit’ I acquiesce about to launch into a lengthy explanation about the difference between visual impairment and blindness and why even disabled people can enjoy the bloody weather and...…. but the strange, sepia lady has spied another couple of pedestrians turning into the alley and immediately, fearless for her life, has leapt back into the road and is stalking them like some bizarre little bouffant mongoose. In the very same bright tone I hear her from behind as she blocks their path
‘Isn’t the weather lovely?’