Homeless on Park Avenue South

Someone had to teach him how to walk. Someone had to teach him how to talk. Someone had to teach him to speak and to lace words together to form sentences. Someone had to teach him the proper way to ask for something.

“Could you spare any chance, please?” he says so he’s just barely heard with his eyes pointed at the dirty, blackened gum-layered sidewalks of Park Avenue South. He’s sitting to the right of McDonald’s, his usual spot. He’s bald, but not from shaving it regularly, but from what I can assume is a tragic accident, a fire maybe. That shine can’t be achieved from a morning shave. There are scars drooping down his face and that shine to his entire head makes me wonder if his face is partially melted. I can’t decide, but I know he once had a family, someone wanted him at one time. He was someone’s son, and for all I know, he could be someone’s brother, father, grandfather, or grandson.

Someone had to teach him feelings, showing him pictures in baby board books of what emotion was. Someone had to point to a picture of a baby crying and clearly state, “sad.” His finger copied theirs to land on that same face to repeat, “sad.” He learned every emotion and at one time felt all of them — happy, excited, mad, scared, sad, embarrassed. I bet he never imagined the feeling of embarrassment would be the one to fill his life.

I pass him, saying a silent prayer for him and his hunger. I say a prayer because someone has to pray for him. Could I spare some change? No, I can’t because I’m trying to stay out of the streets myself and keep a roof over my own head, but I can spare a couple seconds out of my day to pray for him. I wonder if someone taught him to pray?  I wonder if it would have made a difference? Maybe he should restate his question he repeats over and over and say, “Could you spare an extra prayer?” I bet he’d get the same silence, but a bigger blessing.

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