He’s not really sure how it came down to this. Just a few coins in a styrofoam cup and a cardboard sign in his fist. A life of paper products that the rest of the world had discarded as useless. He knew the feeling.
A car passed him by, as many do. With driver intently focused on the road ahead, as if to emphasize the fact that any distraction would spell certain doom. They’d probably go back to texting as soon as they passed him by.
The light changed, and once again began the blinder battle. Everyone in the line of cars thankful that they weren’t the first, the one that had to stare with all their might directly into the light until it said, “you shall pass”.
But this car was different. In the back seat was a little pale skinned passenger, with bright, wide eyes and a free-flowing smile. Missing a few teeth, but really who was counting. The little boy looked at him with no judgement, just the joy of seeing another human being, looking them straight in the eye, and not having a fear in the world of pain from this stranger.
The haggard man smiled to himself, despite his future forecast and cloudy predicament. He was like that little boy once. Before it all went to hell. Before the world cocked back and laid him flat on his back. Before his father hit the bottle, and his mother hit the road. Before his friends all made their mangled way to prison and his daddy did the same.
Sometimes he wondered why he didn’t find himself a gun and just do the same. It was a cruel and ungrateful world filled with frothy-mouthed animals anyway-
He looked down in his cup.
“Have a nice day!” said the woman as she walked on by.
I rock. I roll.