Friday, July 09, 2004

I was looking in the window of a restored building on a downtown street. It was an old rooming house and it still was, only everything was new and modern. As I was reading the history of the place posted in the window, a tall, thin Native man walked up to me.

His hair was black and shiny and long. He wore an old, blue trucking cap and one of his front teeth was almost completely rotted out. However, he did have minty fresh breath thanks to the mouthwash he had been drinking.

"Looking for a place?" he asked.

"No, not really," I replied, "Just checking it out."

"Okay. Well, this place isn't any good if you don't have a lot. You got to find somewhere that's furnished."

"Thanks, man," I said as he started to walk away.

Before he got more than three steps, he turned around, and asked if I could bum him a smoke.

"Sorry, man. I don't smoke. Who can afford to these days?" I asked, making light of it.

"Oh...well how about a dollar?"

I didn't have any money on me and I told him so.

"You don't have a job?"

"Well, I'm an artist."

He looked at me for a long moment, and then he reached into his pocket and brought out about fifteen dollars in change, most likely all the money to his name.

"Well, lemme give you something, friend," he said, pulling out a two dollar coin. He then had a change of heart and added another coin to the offering. My heart melted. Here was this guy with no real home to sleep in that night. He didn't have enough money to buy new shoes (his were worn through on the top - I could see his big toe), but in his mind, he saw someone in need and wanted to help. He had fifteen dollars and would have given me four without me even having to ask for it. If I had any money at that moment, I would have given him every penny.

"Oh, Thank you, but I'm okay. I have a place and I'm alright. Go get yourself a bite to eat, okay?"

"Okay, brother. See you around."

And we went our separate ways.

No comments: