A red plastic wagon waddled down the uneven sidewalk squares of Park Avenue South the first weekday after Daylight Savings. It was dark with only streetlights and the fluorescent vibe of New York City guiding the way. Duane Reade was the next stop for the young, appropriately-aged mother with twin one-year-olds seated in the wagon, buckled, of course. The wagon had two seats and in those sat two innocently quiet and smiling toddlers both with surfer shag blonde hairdos down to their shoulders — a daughter and a son. Identical except for their jackets — one blue, one pink. A bow held back one’s hair, the other plain.
A bearded, skinny homeless man about 65 or so sat hunched over himself by the entrance to the drugstore. He watched the mother approach, he saw her keep eyes on her precious twins, the loves of her life. He knew he was a threat in her eyes. Trust for him ran out years ago, probably after he stopped shaving or living under a roof. His eyes barely glanced at first, probably measuring her trust, her kindness, the chances of getting a donation for dinner that night. The man didn’t make any sudden movements and he didn’t say a word. Not one word spilt from his mouth.
He simply smiled a kind smile that was mostly hidden from his overgrown beard and the shadow of his faded navy baseball cap. His eyelids circled around his eyes, revealing an angelic man, and his key to pure, but temporary, happiness. As my mind silently ooed and awed over the wagon filled with kin, so did his. Innocently.