I saw a man that I know tonight; I know him by the halting way he talks, periods in all the wrong places. It was a cash transaction. To him, I’m just a girl with a sympathetic face and a jingle in my pocket. To me, he’s just a chance at redemption, a cardboard cutout Jesus card you get at a funeral.
There’s always that moment of indecision, a fraction of a moment between yes and no. It’s not about his story, he hasn’t even got one. I flip past the twenty and feel a pang of guilt. No redemption for me tonight. Two faded bills are exchanged, a one way trip from my wallet to maybe the liquor store or maybe someplace else. I might’ve spent it on liquor anyway.
We chat a bit. We both laugh and, for just a second, we’re almost just two people talking on the street. We talk about the lack of snow and I say, “It’s already mid-January, maybe we’ll miss winter this year.”
“I won’t miss it,” he says with something that’s not quite a smile and not quite anything else.