When Jackson finally fell, he fell hard. In the middle of the train station, below the escalators and between the sliding door and marble pillars, Jackson tumbled onto the freshly mopped, shining stone floor. There was little to hold onto, his fingers clutching at the air as he counted the seconds to his unfortunate landing. He was in his sixties, his balance deteriorating alongside his eyesight.
He lay helpless as people walked through by the dozens into their afternoon lives. Finally, a young woman stopped and tried to help Jackson up before realizing he was bleeding. He curled up like a ball, the shock of his fall refusing to allow pain into the gash across his forehead.
“I’ve called an ambulance. They should be here soon.” the woman said to Jackson, who was clutching a tissue handed by a passerby across his forehead.
“There’s nothing we can do,” Jackson heard a man say.
“So sad,” A woman said as she walked by.
“Doesn’t look good. The guy looks quite old, too,” he heard another passerby mutter.
Jackson lay back down, covering his eyes and forehead with his arm. He was seeing little flashes of light and his ears closed to the sounds around him. He looked down at his blood covered hands before he crawled up into a ball again.
He awoke to a hand shaking him across the shoulder. A large crowd had gathered, and paramedics had arrived. A few young people were filming the incident on their phones.
“Looks like I’m a celebrity now,” Jackson said jokingly, the blood rushing to his head as he sat up.
“Hey, hey, are you with us?” a medic asked coldly. “What is your name?”
“Jackson Atherton,” Jackson replied without hesitation.
“How did you fall?” the medic asked.
“I don’t really know,” he replied. “I must have lost my balance.”
“We’re going to take you to the hospital to make sure it’s nothing serious,” the medic stated firmly.
“I don’t have insurance. I can’t afford ambulances. Women and ambulances,” Jackson said. The medics stared at him blankly. They whispered to each other with their backs turned when Jackson suddenly stood up, covered in blood and ready to leave. The crowd stepped back alarmed.
“You can’t leave. You have to come with us,” the medic said again.
“Who will pay for this?” Jackson asked. He thought of running away but he knew he wouldn’t get far in his condition.
“You’ll figure something out,” the medics took Jackson by the arm.
People applauded, and Jackson smiled as they walked away.
“Told you I’m a celebrity.”, he said to the medics.
“Maybe your new-found fame can help pay for your troubles,” the medics replied dryly before loading him into the ambulance.