His voice was robotic. He didn’t look up. He was staring at a computer screen. His eyes looked dead.
I understood. The BMV was probably my least favorite place in the world. I never imagined renewing my driver’s license would be the highlight of my day.
I wondered if I could still pass the vision test. I wondered if this would be my last driver’s license.
The line inched forward. The linoleum floor was wet from people tracking in snow. As I stepped forward, I slipped and fell down hard, landing on my back. My head hit the floor, and I nearly passed out.
Those near me in line backed away. Maybe they were afraid of losing their places by helping me. Then, looking up, I saw the man who had been sitting behind the counter. He was now kneeling beside me.
“Are you okay, sir?” he said.
I moaned. I couldn’t speak.
“Someone call 911,” the man shouted.
He took off his sweater and balled it up. Then he gently lifted my head and slipped his sweater under it. It felt like a pillow.
I looked into his face. I saw concern in his eyes. It was the closest I had been to anyone, face to face, in years. I’d nearly forgotten what it was like to look into someone’s eyes.
“I’ll stay right here until help arrives,” he said, patting my shoulder.
I noticed movement. People in line were moving forward around me. As they passed, they looked down at me with curious eyes.
When the EMTs got there, they checked me out, then lifted me onto a stretcher. The man from behind the counter helped them lift me. Then he picked up his sweater, stretched it out and carefully laid it on top of the blanket over me.
“Be well, sir,” he said as they rolled me out.
On the way to the hospital, I wondered if the man had gone back to work. I wondered if his eyes had changed. I wondered if mine had changed.