Monday, November 10, 2014
Barely able to stand, he gripped the bright yellow handle on the bus, tightly, as if life itself would slip through his fingers if he let go. He sat down, abruptly, on the plush navy cushioned seat, the stench of liquor heavy on his breath, streaming hotly out of his nostrils and staining his greasy canvas jacket, wet from new rain. As I glanced quickly at this strange man, my hardened gaze lifted, the fragility of this being struck me deeply and immediately I felt a sadness envelop me. Right there, sitting across from me, knees nearly touching yet worlds apart, my obligatory stony gaze crumbled and fell. His eyelids were swollen shut from crying. The kind of crying that causes your whole body to tremble, I could tell. His noble Balkan nose was the hue of a fresh bruise, and there was a smear of blood dripping down his right eyelid and onto his cheek, moist from tears. His knuckles were scraped and bloody. His ash grey mustache twitched involuntarily with a deep pain…anguish…agony…sorrow. An unfathomable sorrow. What had happened to this man? Suddenly I felt the urge to throw my youthful arms around this ancient soul and save him from his sorrow. I thought of my father, my brothers, my grandfathers, my uncles. Would anyone comfort them if they were on this bus, alone and dejected, not a hope in the world? Would anyone take a minute out of their busy schedule to embrace a stranger in need of a little mercy from humanity? Or would everyone avert their gaze, too uncomfortable to leave the safety of their own lives to comfort one in need? I hated myself for being one of those people. I have so little faith in humanity these days, and now I am just as guilty as all of them. I feel like I failed God. Please, God, forgive me for being too cowardly to help a person in need.
Sinner or saint? Angel or the devil’s plaything? Does it truly matter in the end?
Down, down …down to the bottom.
We all go.
Comrade Von Pussycat