But Mostly Happy

He walks the walk past the portly lady making her way out of Pandora. He shrugs a little extra and caves into himself as he does so. Drawing his veiny hand from the greying blue tattered jeans he pushes the jacket up to his elbow, mimicking the lady’s action with her expensive leather bag. And then suavely the hands go back into the pocket with a two-finger size hole.

The chilly air whisks through his unkempt hair, which are pretty much the same color now as his grey shirt. He makes it a point to tread closer to the shops watching himself make the automatic doors open, deriving some ephemeral joy off this little place in the world where he has power.

After his tiring day of work at pacing the streets back and forth, you’d see him once in a while and then everyday for a few days at Burger King. He always takes that booth in the corner, where you’d see him busying himself with the purple, red, white card paper boxes holding the warm burgers. He has his means of earning money for this food but he’d never beg.

Once Burger King closes for day, it’s time to go to his bed chamber. It’s a grand sand colored building with elaborate pillars hinting on the affluence of its previous occupants. Today, its just offices and banks. He walks up the stairs, coolly opens the glass door to the hall housing 8 ATMs. A few more steps and he is at his spot for the night. He assembles on the carpeted stone floor; asleep soon, away from the sickly cold of December.

On one January morning, he was hanging out at a tram stop, secluded from the crowd for he smelled rather unforgivable. A yellow tram came to a halt and the doors slid open. A woman stepped out barely managing to stand straight with her 5 heavy bags. Once on the pavement, she made some futile attempts at moving the strolley. But the strolley wouldn’t budge as its small tyres had managed to fit themselves between the cobblestones on the ground. It was a sight for everyone on the tram stop to give amused stares to. He, in the grey-blue jeans, was the only one who came ahead and asked her, with a voice muffled by the heavy beard, if she needed help. Hers was a grateful assent mostly wrapped in doubt at the gesture made by a person like him. He helped her carry the bags till the pavement was cemented again. He makes another offer to carry her bags all the way to her house, but still a little doubtful she refuses and leaves, thanking him.

And then he, Bruno was off again for his job on the streets.

You’d think he needs help but you’d be wrong. He might walk the streets for he has nowhere to go. He might spend his night hours at any random place that is warm. But he still wears his smile more often than any other of his expressions, or any of us.

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12 thoughts on “But Mostly Happy

  1. Same here! I can see him and imagine his spirit. I love how many posts this week are about interacting with people who seem to be homeless or destitute in serious ways. Great post.

    Like

  2. I love the way there is the reversal here–we often expect that someone like him needs help, but he was rather the one–the ONLY one–offering it freely to someone else.

    Like

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