Monday, September 21, 2009

A Man's Question

She lay in bed thinking about the man she had seen that morning. No, not like that. This man was the type she could ID a block away - pacing, patrolling a small piece of the sidewalk as if he owned it, approaching all who passed by. He was clean enough, with his shirt tucked in and his pants still khaki-colored, but she could tell what he wanted. Sure enough, as she approached him, he turned from his previous defeat and addressed her. His tongue was heavy, laboring over the words, but his delivery was nonetheless quick and confident. "Excuse me missus sir Good morning Good evening Could you spare a dollar?" She tried to catch his eye, smile, to recognize him as human even though she wasn't going to spare a dollar, but he was intent on finishing his sentence, and didn't meet her eye. Then she had left his turf and it was over.

On the way back, laden with groceries, she saw him still pacing the same few feet of sidewalk, still addressing passers-by. He was asking a man headed the other way as she passed; she quickened her pace and managed to elude him before he could turn to query her.

That night, her thoughts surprisingly wandered back to that man and his sidewalk as she lay in bed, sleep evasive. She wondered if anyone had spared him a dollar, had been willing to break the fourth wall. I should have bought him a coffee, she thought, visualizing the coffee shop just steps beyond the man. Dammit.

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Princess Nijma

Princess Nijma