Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Man

I sit in my car at the Sonic drive in enjoying the air conditioning, listening to the latest 'terrible' news of the world and nation and enjoying the comforts of my car while waiting for my food.

Not ten feet away sits a older man at the outdoor table. He looks to be late forties or so, close ot my age. His ragged clothes show his rough life, his scrubby beard has some gray tint to it and his skin is multicolored from unhealed scars of the past. He rocks back and forth in the summer heat.

Across from him in the chair sits a large light brown teddy bear, a red bow ribbon decorates it's neck with permanent smile sewn into it's face. It's brown eyes stare at the man and seem to have more compassion than those passing by as people zip in and out to get their food and car hops zoom past in a frenzy. It is an odd site for a summer day.

Before long he lifts himself out of his seat, pickups up the few coins on the table left from the drink he purchased and clutches his prescription medicine bottle as he prepares to leave. He then reaches over to the teddy bear that is still smiling and gently lifts the bear into his grasp as if it is a small child that needs special handling. The bear makes it's to his shoulder and seems quite content peering out. The man then wanders past my car with obviously no particular place to go. He makes his way past the other cars pulling in and out, changes direction, and then changes direction again before heading off down the street obviously looking for a place to sleep tonight.

A chill runs down my spine as the reality sinks in.

How did this man get into this situation? Someone brought him into this world... he was someone's baby... someone's toddler... and young adult, someone had to take care of him long ago.

What were their dreams for his life? What happened in those years that have past?

How did he get here today, with his teddy bear, his medication, and the few coins he had with him? What was his dreams? ... and where did they go?

Then it really hits me - this could have been me - or still could be me someday.

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