Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stopped on the Street

Yesterday I was walking in town in Towson and a man came up to me. He was a white man, his arms and neck covered in tattoos. He looked young and old at the same time. He urgently walked over to me and I stopped. He recited his first words to me, "I just got out of jail. My friend over there did too." He pointed to a large black man- who appeared to be smuggling several children underneath his shirt- sitting on a nearby bench.

The man I was conversing with stood about ten inches away from me. He was tilted slightly to his left, his back to the street. He swayed as he talked. The small towel in his back pocket created the only wind in the area on that stifling steamy day. Sweat dripped on his forehead down to his inked neck. I tried to grab his eyes as he spoke, but it was as if mine were in a bad neighborhood that his wanted to avoid at all cost. He tapped my chest with the back of his right hand as he spoke.

"He's trying to get the fuck home. He could use any help you can give. He's trying to get on the fucking bus and get home," the recently released man told me of his friend. "Sorry, I can't help," I replied. The man wasn't sure how to react as he teetered between disappointment and anger.

"Sorry," I repeated two more times. His faced turned towards acceptance. I shifted and continued on my way. In the background I heard the man on the bench say, "I don't need your help, man. I appreciate it but I don't need it." He was scolding his friend.

I went to 7-11 and spent my last two dollars on a Slurpee.

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