This evening, I walked past a man sleeping against the turnstiles at the Pentagon City Metro. He was wearing a station manager's uniform. I thought this was an odd place to sleep. I turned around. Someone else had stopped to ask the man if he was all right. He was unconscious. We spoke to him until he woke up.
Four of us gathered. A woman, whose last named was Coward, called 911. A middle-aged guy offered medical advice. Another metro employee made the man comfortable. I went up to the street to wait for the ambulance.
Turned out the man, Brian, had started vomiting and passed out. He had one kidney and high blood pressure. We waited until the medics told us to leave.
I know what it's like to wake up, not knowing where you are. I remember last year, finding myself on the stoop of someone's house, being yelled at not to move my head, seeing blood on my hand. No memory of the past. As if creation had spit me out right there, at that moment. Bleeding.
Eventually, Brian started smiling a bit. I was happy to help, but I think I stayed because I felt guilty for walking past him in the first place.
"So your last name is Coward?" I said to the woman, as we left.
"Believe me, by fourth grade, I'd made my peace with that."