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The friendly lady who picked me up in the blizzard drove slowly up Mass Ave in Cambridge for over a mile. With barely one driving lane and no option to pull over, she stopped in the street and dropped me off two blocks from the Quad, saving the day for me. Surrounded by rolling hills of snow, I trudged down the middle of a closed side street the rest of the way, numb and battered by gale-force winds.
Only one other pedestrian braved the blizzard on a street usually teeming with students and residents. Each of us could hardly even make eye contact, bundled to the max and looking down to cut the wind attacking our faces. I had never been so happy to reach and enter a building. In the warm room where I listened to the student and typed his words for his final exam, snow and ice melted in a puddle under my feet.
After the final, I dreaded the walk ahead.
On my way to Beth’s Harvard dorm, I stopped at the only business open, the Starbucks at the corner of Mass Ave and Shepard Street. A kind soul had shoveled a narrow trench from the door to the corner of the street. The snow on each side reached my chest.
I sipped a hot chai tea and carried a latte for Beth for several blocks to her dorm. I climbed high snow hills on the ramp to the entrance. I called ahead and she met me at the door to let me in. Her latte was freezing by the time I arrived. I was glad to hear that her proctor had already offered to bring her meals from the dining hall.
Drifting snow continued to block the dorm ramp after the blizzard winds died down, despite frequent clearing by college maintenance staff.
No kind of wheelchair could get through, so I stopped to see Beth each day before or after my Coop shift. The sidewalks stayed impassable for a few days afterward, so I joined the many pedestrians walking in the streets close to cars. Compared to walking in the blizzard, trekking to the Quad and Beth’s dorm in bitter temperatures on icy roads and sidewalks felt like an improvement.
When snow still blew, I pushed Beth’s wheelchair to and from the shuttle stop to resume swim practices. The shuttle drivers helped her up and down the icy hill at the entrance to the pool in the aftermath of the blizzard.
Next: An Unanticipated Obstacle!
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