The man, the one I spoke of the other day, is something else.
Because, if I were him, and I say that about every little thing, I wouldn’t know how to cope, and I say that about every little thing.
Despite his circumstances, he doesn’t seem to hold an ounce of bitterness. He’s kind – so so kind! And, one of those people who leaves you feeling overcome with inexplicable emotion after he walks away. The kind of emotion that is so happy it feels sad, leaving a gigantic lump in your throat.
I always give him something when I see him. Sometimes it’s 5 bucks, and sometimes it’s 5 cents.
But, sometimes, the only thing I have to offer him is respect. On the days I don’t have a dime, I still make it a point to roll down the window, stick my hand out, and squeeze his. You know, the kind of squeeze reserved for only the most special of people; a squeeze from the heart.
Now, it’s entirely possible I’m making this whole thing up, because I want so badly for it to be true, but I feel like this man and I have a special connection.
Let me explain.
I always have this need to downplay what I have, and how fortunate I am. It’s not that I feel guilty for having it, it’s that I feel guilty so many others don’t. Because, no more deserving, I’m just a member of the lucky sperm club. Born into a world of opportunity, I had a leg-up from day one.
But, with my friend on the corner, I feel none of this guilt. For some reason, I know he knows me, and who I am underneath it all. I don’t have to tell him how much I respect him, he can feel how I feel about him. When we talk, he is not homeless and I am not privileged. We’re just two human beings who enjoy each other.
A couple of weeks ago, there was a ton of traffic at his intersection, which left my car stopped pretty far back at the red light.
My friend can’t walk fast, his pronounced limp won’t allow it.
So, when I saw the crossing signal for the opposing light begin to count down, I started to panic.
I became frantic my light would turn green before he could reach me and the $3 bills crunched in my hand, so I rolled down the window and screamed to him.
He heard me right away, smiled, and began to limp faster…but not fast enough. If only our determination carried us around, instead of our legs, he would have gotten to me in a flash. But, unfortunately, we’re stuck with our legs, and there was no way his were gonna reach me in time.
So, I put my car in park, jumped out, and made a beeline towards him.
It must have been a sight to see – me running towards him and him limping towards me, down our narrow path between two lanes of cars.
It felt like slow motion, because I’m dramatic like that, but we finally reached each other.
Hi! I was so scared the light would change before I could reach you and how are you today?!
I handed him the $3 and stuck my hand out to squeeze his. Ignoring my outstretched hand, he went in for a hug – the best hug! I bear-hugged him back in the middle of those two lanes and we laughed. Then, I hauled ass back to my car before people could get all road rage-y.
I didn’t realize how much I needed that hug.
Yesterday, I happened upon a book of quotes. And, that’s where I found them.
The words that express how I feel about my friend.
I’m so happy to say that we’ve reached the $2,000 mark over at Fundly.
There’s much more to say about our progress, so I’ll post full update later this afternoon.
Have a wonderful Monday!