I drive past you, every day at the same time… at the same stop light. I drive past you.
You’re always looking slightly down, maybe at your feet, maybe at the sidewalk, maybe you want to avoid eye contact with me as much as I want to avoid eye contact with you.
You have a picture ID attached to a lanyard that dangles from your neck… you work out, I can tell by the thickness of your shoulders. Your tattoos look old but well thought out. Your hair is cut perfectly. A single ear-ring draws my attention to your square jaw, your straight nose, your blue eyes, your perfect skin tanned by the summer sun.
You usually have on shorts so I glance at the tattoo on the back of your calf — my imagination starts to drift, I reel in my thoughts.
I look at the ID again, every day I look at that ID at that same stop light and I wonder about you. It identifies you as a vendor selling the “homeless” paper — I’m baffled because you are exquisite, young, strong. You make my thoughts soar in the early morning. I wonder how… how?
I imagine us having dinner together, you tell me a story of combat duty and how your job was gone when you returned and you have no family and one thing led to another and you ended up homeless. But then I change the story… it was drugs. You became addicted as a teenager. Your parents kicked you out. You’re starting over. Then, again, I have an even better story… you’re a writer, spending the year homeless, living in shelters, selling the paper. You have several large publishing houses interested already.
I notice you, sifting your stance. The tattoo on your calf flexes. You walk up to the car in front of me and exchange a paper for the dollar the woman is holding precariously through the half-opened window. You nod your head to say thank you and look around at me to see if I’m waving a dollar as well — I’m not.
I look down to avoid your blue eyes and the stories I’ve created about them… the light turns green. I drive away, until tomorrow.