Monday, March 14, 2011

A Man

The last couple of days, driving back and forth between my house and Mom and Dad's, I noticed a man. He's been standing on the less traveled side of an intersection - a little side road, really, that leads to an old road that used to be the main road. He has a very small cardboard sign that says, "HOMELESS HELP."

The first time, he was nearly a blur as I took the yielding curve on the slow side of 40 mph. I noted the cardboard, the flannel, an unkempt beard, a baseball cap. That was Saturday. And yesterday, I saw him there again, impressed by the same details, an additional sense of fatigue. Worn work boots.

I headed to Mom and Dad's after work today. An unsettling blue mood fell on me at the same time I was bathed by golden sunlight and perfumed by the early blooming cherry trees. So much beauty on the edge of melancholy. I flew across the county line at the bottom of a hill, crossed the river on the old main road and turned up the hill.

He stood where he'd been the past few days, all faded flannel and denim and weathered leather and a face burnished by sun and whatever hardship had fallen. The light was red. I dug in my purse. My windows were down. I held a folded bill out the window.

He approached the car assuring me that he was a harmless fellow. But I wasn't afraid of him. That sense of sadness in me just welled up. He took the money from my hand with callused fingers, thanking me. "God bless you," I said, feeling a terrible knot rising in my throat.

"God bless you," he repeated. And then he add, "Rock and roll til you die."

I smiled as the light turned green, held out a lifted hand as I made my turn. Maybe he's crazy. Maybe he's an addict. Maybe he's an angel. Maybe he's none of those things. But what I do know is, he's a man.

1 cat calls:

daisy said...