• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 07
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I sit on the bench at the bus stop and watch you across the street. You bend and sift through broken glass and papers sodden and heavy from our recent rain. You pick up something to admire, standing straight and holding it to the sun, low on the horizon, casting you and your treasure in a golden haze. Cars speed to and fro between us, water splashing as fumes dirty the air and peace of our perusals. I see your puppy poking a curious head from your backpack. Then as you usually do, having exhausted your search for curiosities only you discerning their usefulness, you sit cross-legged on the gravel and dirt with your back to the graffiti-covered wall. The brilliant colors and shapes seem to come from and through you, including you in the masterpiece. I don't know if you realize your place, how you enhance the tableau, as you now pet and caress the pup in your lap, an urban Madonna and child lit sweetly by the waning sunlight.

I arrive early at my bus stop and cross the busy street to wait for you. I pace in front of your tableau, looking for items I think you might find interesting, wondering how you find beauty in this place of abandoned and broken lives. I hold the bag filled with dog food which I put in plastic gallon bags. I washed the toys and sweaters, and their presence now in the bag pulls all my emotion from me, keeping me from turning and running to my stop. I hold the green quilted jacket, lined in brown plaid fleece, in my hand. It is too good a piece to put in the bag with ordinary things. I toe some gravel and bits of blue glass to distract me from the pounding beat of my hesitant heart. I glance up and down the street, begging you to appear before I might change my mind.

There you are, at the corner staring placidly at me in your space. Then we nod. We've been watching each other for weeks, before your puppy arrived, before mine left me. I remain still as you walk slowly to this corner, your corner.



You stop and tilt your head, your pup squirming in your arms, your backpack slung over one shoulder. Your hair is matted and dirty, but your smile is serene. Like you hold a secret that I can never know. You look at my bag, and I'm startled from my reverie and look at it, too. I hand the bag over to you and finally the green quilted jacket. You accept them, eyes brightening as you show your pup the gifts. This is when I know my heart will be healed by giving these items to one who sees beauty in the things of an abandoned and broken life.