No one spoke to him; indeed no one looked at him. He was virtually invisible to the shoppers and shopkeepers as he sat motionless at a table in the corner of the mall food court. His self-imposed solitude was well practiced, a skill developed and perfected during years of homelessness. He was as unaware of those around him as they were of him. They were just mobile blobs aimlessly blown around by a random breeze. His senses, heightened by a nagging hunger were focused on the small space around a waste receptacle positioned only a few footsteps from his mooring.
A mobile blob placed an item in the receptacle. He moved with a confident cadence to retrieve the deposit. His actions appeared ordinary and so natural as to go un-noticed except by an astute people watcher who remarked, “did you see that?”
I didn’t see his unsuccessfully search for discarded food in the Chick-fil-A bag; however he was no longer invisible to me. I watched as he returned to his table and resumed his solitude.
“Should I give him some money?”
“No, but perhaps we could buy him something to eat, he would probably like a Chick-fil-A.”
I stepped to his table and stood close by. He didn’t notice.
“Hello bother, are you okay?”
Startled, he looked up and said, “No.”
“Are you hungry?”
“Would you like a Chick-fil-A sandwich?”
“I rather have some rice.”
We moved to the Asian food counter and I bought him a plate of rice and chicken, wished him God’s blessing and left him alone to enjoy his food.
I remembered an inkling of a quote by someone who said “Sometimes walls are put up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” I walked away that day with a good feeling. –CP