Eyes wide shut

“Brief Encounters” are readers’ narrations of the funny, surreal and bizarre of everyday life in Vienna.

I was waiting to cross the street at Karls­platz, where the lights seemed ever reluctant to change, when I noticed a man and his young daughter coming up to the lights opposite.

The girl was blind: one hand held onto a white cane, and the other onto her dad’s hand. He was guiding her along as she battered the pavement with the stick.

The hearts of everyone on my side of the street broke in unison. The voices of the four women beside me blended into a barbershop chorus of pity. A couple with a dog waited too, the dog the only one of us who didn’t seem to feel sympathy.

Eventually, the lights changed. Crossing, we heard the man telling his daughter to watch out for the dog. She screamed “Hunderl!”and dropped her cane and bent down.  The dog trotted over and she petted it, in the middle of the street. The man laughed with his daughter and apologised to the couple.

I wanted to stay and watch the pleasure of the little girl we’d all felt such pity for.

Next to that, what earthly use were we?

Lauren McKay 

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