“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what it your do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Looks like he needs help. Look at him. Can’t even get that wheelchair up the stoop. That’s why you don’t buy a house with a stoop if you’re in a wheelchair. Should’ve bought the one across the street. At least its flat. All the houses on this side have stoops. What was he thinking? Old men like us don’t buy big old houses with stoops. If I could sell this one, boy I would. Don’t need all this space. Every room I walk into I think about Sasha. She wanted this big old house, not me. Can’t even sell it now. Practically worthless. Probably should’ve sold it to him. And what happened to him anyway? Where’s his kids? No wife? Wait – uh oh, he’s stuck. Almost fell out of the chair. Let me get out there. See if he needs help.
“Hi, I’m Miklov, from next door. Couldn’t help notice you from my kitchen window. You need help there?”
“Get the hell away from me!”
“I don’t need no help from no foreigner! Get away from me!”
“I just wanted to help you, Sir. Your wheelchair’s stuck. It’s the wheel. Let me just push it out of-“
“I said don’t touch me! And don’t touch my chair, you foreigner!”
“Please don’t call me that.”
“Call you what? A foreigner? That’s what you are! That’s what you all are! Coming here, eating up our food, using up our tax money, stealing all our jobs! A foreigner! No foreigner’s gonna help me.”
“Sir, I didn’t want to make trouble. I just wanted to help.”
“Help with what, huh? You’re all the same. You all come to this country so we can help you. What help can you give me, huh? Foreigners take; they never give. Cost me everything I had just to buy this house. I’m the one that’s broke and living on pennies and welfare because of dirty foreigners like you!”
“Sir, I am a citizen. And if you call me that again-“
“What? What you gonna do to me, huh?”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Sir. I served this country! I worked hard in this country! I never took a handout from anyone!”
“Oh, you have the nerve to get testy with me, you foreigner? I’ll have you arrested!”
“For what? For trying to help a neighbor?”
“For attacking me!”
“I haven’t touched you!”
“Get away from me, you foreigner! Leave me alone!”
“Fine! But know this, you grump: I fought for this country. I worked hard in this country. I am very much a citizen as you are!”
“I’m calling the police.”
“What? For what?”
“I’m going to tell them that this foreigner pushed me. That’s why my wheelchair’s stuck. I’m going to tell them that you did it.”
“Sir, you’re crazy, you know that?”
“Really? You’ll see how crazy I can get, you dirty foreigner. I’m going to make sure you get arrested. I’m not living next door to no foreigner.”
“Fine. Then take that!”
“What? You just kicked my chair!”
“And take that!”
“You want to call the police? Then give them a reason to come. Take that!”
“Stop that! Stop kicking my chair, you foreigner. Now I’m really stuck. Stop!”
“Don’t ever call me a foreigner again, you hateful little man!”
“Hey, you’re the one that’s hateful. You just kicked my wheelchair again. See, all you foreigners are the same!”
“Hey, get back here, you foreigner! I’m calling the police! I’m going to send them to your house! Yeah, go and hide! We’ll see what happens to you! I’ll see to it that you get deported!”
“Lord, I’m sorry.
I don’t know why I did that.
I can’t believe I did that.
I pushed his wheelchair to the ground.
What was I thinking?
I was so mad.
Still a little mad.
What does he know about me?
What does he know about my life?
I came to this country as a child, worked hard, married, had kids.
I even served in the army.
How can he treat me like that?
Like a foreigner?
Well…I didn’t treat him any better.
I should’ve been better.
I could’ve done better.
He’s not much different from me.
Alone. Old. Retired.
He’s angry about something,
but aren’t we all?
Life is hard.
You showed me that, Lord.
You showed me how to carry my little cross.
And sometimes it wasn’t easy.
I could’ve become angry, too.
He’s not much different from me.
Teach me how to love this guy, Lord.
Teach me how to love someone who’ll never love me.”
“Sir, let me help you.”
“Not you again, you foreigner! I thought you ran back home. Leave me be. I can do it myself.”
“Here, I’ll get you up.”
“Sir, I’m doing it.”
“Stop helping me!”
“Why do you care anyway? As soon as I get inside, I’m calling the police! Afraid they’re gonna round you up and deport you, huh?
“Because you and I are the same.”
“I will never be like you!”
“We are, Sir. I gather you’re on your own. I am, too. My wife died years ago. And my kids live far away.”
“So, we are living a similar life.”
“You don’t know a thing about me, you foreigner! My life is nothing like yours.”
“Here, let me push you to your front door.”
“No! Stop helping me.”
“There you go. Let me open the door and push you in. There you go. Alright, so if you need anything, Sir, just let me know. I’m up pretty early and I sleep late. I always buy more than I can eat. And I like watching comedies to pass the time.”
“Leave me alone, you foreigner.”
“And I love to cook, especially on Sundays. You can just come by. No questions asked.”
“I would never eat your foreign food!”
“See you, neighbor.”
“I hate you, you foreigner! And if I do come by, I’ll come over myself. I don’t need you to help me!”
“Of course, neighbor. Of course.”