The pain slowly subsided as the pills took their effect. The wheezing and panting coming down from its frantic pace to a more manageable, but audible gasping. Tinged with relief, the gaze of the older man steadied. His pixelated view sharpening from the white fuzz of hurt to a cloudy glaucoma filled one.
Pressing forward on the round control of his motorized chair, the wheels creeked into motion and he began rolling down the street. The berth which people, even on the most crowded streets, gave him hurt more than the pain which his pills now soothed. Children looked over briefly in fear before cowering and running away. Mother's eyes were mixtures of pity and disgust, their husbands eyes looking away as they covered their children's eyes. Few held his gaze if he pulled it from the pavement long enough to give it.
It hadn't always been this way. There had been days when he too had walked freely, moving quickly between people in crowds. Days where the flower shop had been reachable to him, now he was forced to ask strangers to climb those tall stairs and trust them with his meager pension. There had been days where those flowers were brought back and placed into a small green vase by his--
The pain in the leg, or rather, where his leg had been, flaired. Crying out, his good arm started to move towards the sensation; hand caught on the control, the motorized chair twisted sideways. Nearly colliding with a couple who hadn't maintained their distance, he winced and waited for the pain to disperse; closing his eyes and breathing heavily. After a moment, he pulled himself together, righting his chair and avoiding the eyes of the frightened couple standing back from him, he gasped an apology then proceeded down the street.
The shame of his disabilities burned through him with frustration. Motor humming, he continued driving forward until he reached a spot in the park underneath an old oak tree. Next to it, a war memorial stood, the grey slate carved with names of the dead, the names of his friends. Looking over, he read each of the names he knew, thinking fondly of the memories. Blinking away the moisture in his eyes, he looked out over the park and watched the children play. Their light hearted games and shouts bringing small comfort to his ears. Soon, he thought, soon enough they too would know the horrors, but for now, let them play.