He is on the corner everyday. Eight am sharp. I’m sure to catch the morning rush. Even the homeless know something about customer volume.
Today, he displays the anything helps sign. The crude black letters stretch across a degraded piece of cardboard, the crease lines wearing through from months of folding it. Or maybe years.
I take a long draw on my cigarette, feeling the nicotine plugging into my nerves. Rolling down the window, I blow out the smoke, my mind briefly drifting back to the evening before. The smell of Jon’s cologne on the sheets and the light graze of a touch. My lips curl into a smile.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the homeless man starting to edge towards my car. In annoyance, I realized he had seen my open window as a signal that I hadn’t intended.
I glanced at the light, hoping the green circle would save me from an awkward interaction. But with no luck, I quickly stubbed out the cigarette and started cranking up the window, cursing under my breath about not paying the extra cash for automatics.
I gently shook my head as he continued to approach and mimed a “Sorry.” His dry face slowly morphed into a scowl. I looked back at him with a mixture of exasperation and guilt blossoming in my head.
He stared back; his volatile deep blue eyes seeming to pierce into me.
For a brief moment, I felt compelled to see if I could find change or something to hand over to him. His open scrutiny bared on me like a spotlight with every driver around me watching the show.
But that feeling soon vanquished at the sound of a horn blaring from behind me. I hit the gas without a second thought, relieved to see the bright green burning ahead. Once I made the turn, I could just put the whole moment behind me.