Tears

Yesterday on the El or L or metro or train, or whatever it is this city calls its above and underground carriage portal machine, a argueably homeless ish man got on, held onto a rail above me,  and started to weep. Legitimately weep. It wasn’t calculated or planned, he was just completely broken. I couldn’t tell if he’d just gotten terrible news, if he was at the end of his rope, if he was heartbroken, or what. Finally between his tears, he managed, can somebody give me something to eat? My gut reaction, which I hate, is that this dude is lying. This dude is a master of his own tears. This dude can make himself weep like any dude with a BA in Theater. But I couldn’t help but look harder. Again he said: please, could anyone help me with something to eat. And I shifted. I realized  it was real. I somehow just knew.  This grown man was weeping because he was hungry. Not angsty, not pissed, not discouraged. He didn’t need a compliment or therapist or hug, he needed food. He crumpled into a seat and continued to cry and I wondered what he was like as a kid and then I started crying because he was crying.  I wasn’t the only one who felt it was real. By the next stop he had a lapful of granola bars and quarters and bills, and suddenly nobody’s problems mattered anymore and we all went home and ate our food, slowly, smelling it first.

Leave a Reply