The Moment

He lie there, hungry and in need of a bath. His eyes peering up at me as if to speak without speaking.  There was a longing there.  Perhaps a cry for help.  I peered back taking in his aroma, his tattered clothes, his soleless shoes and his face.

His face…

His face was hidden under layers of life on the street.  He welcomed me into his home, a cardboard box, corners ratted and weathered by rains long past.  His carpet, the concrete we take for granted as we walk to and fro.  His walls, one end of the earth to the other.  His car, a grocery cart containing this week’s pay.  He was hoping for a bonus,

….that’s where I came in.

Our eyes locked for only a second, it seemed longer.  They told me his story with the bounce in his pupils.  I blinked away a tear as I shoved my hands into my pockets,

for something,

…anything.

I stretched my hand through his front door, giving him all I had.  I watched as his hands appeared from underneath a blanket that looked like it had warmed him and all of his neighbors.  His hands carried the wounds of his story, calloused under sides, wrinkled top, wrinkled from hardship, not age.  His nails carried everything he’d picked up since his last shower.

Our hands met somewhere between his living room and his stoop that I stood on. The smile that crossed his face gave me hope, hope for his day.  But, what about after?

He looked like life.  The version of life we visualize when we complain.  The version of life we think we feel when things are far from our way.

As I continued my walk I noticed how much the scenery changed from his front door to the square.

As I looked up at the tall buildings, touching God’s doorsteps, all I saw was promise.  A promise of opportunity and wealth.  A promise of long nights laughing with friends, followed by longer days making the life we dreamed about as kids.  I still remember the excitement in the pit of my stomach.  I remember the speed of my heartbeat.  I remember how cloudy my thoughts were.  I remember feeling like life was mine for the taking.  I stood there in the middle of time square mesmerized by the hustle and bustle.  Literally, entranced by my surroundings.  I felt like I had made it.  If only for the moment, I had.  The world seemed to have wrapped its arms around me as I danced, mid twirl it hit me: I am only a couple blocks away from despair.  In an instant the thin line that existed between the two became real to me. The thin line that separated the peak from the pits.

I found beauty in that place.  I found beauty in the opportunity that lies at our fingertips, that is ours for the taking, that allows us to provide an opportunity for another, if only for the moment.

Laneshia Lamb