Thursday, December 1, 2011

When I See You . . .

When I see you, my car is warm, comfortable, full of music and life.

When I see you, I’m waiting at the last red light before arriving at work.

When I see you stand on the corner of 2nd and E, arms wrapped around your frail frame, I imagine how cold or hot you must be.

When I see you, some days your clothes are tattered and ill fitting and others you appear to have been first in line at Goodwill hand outs.

When I see you, I tell myself to be a better person, to bring you lunch, to have a conversation with you . . . to help.

Then the light turns green, and I forget.

When I see you again, my eyes fill with tears, my heart squeezes in my chest. I forgot about you yesterday, forgot to bring you a sandwich, forgot to offer you a short story . . . forgot to be a good person.

When I see you, I imagine the life you must have lived, how you came to stake claim on this small corner right outside the shelter in Washington, D.C.

When I see you, I wonder if you have family, friends, or anything to “return” to.

Then the light turns green, and I forget.

I saw you this morning, you were smiling, hugging two women, talking. I cried. I forgot about you again. Someone else was the good person I should have been, someone else asked you about your life, someone else worried about your well being while I only worried about getting to work on time.

When I see you, I’m going to give you this letter.

When I see you, I hope God blesses you and provides you comfort.

When I see you, I hope to be witness to your smile.

It’s beautiful . . . just like you.

19 comments:

  1. This is beautiful ... and a powerful, important, and loving message for all of us with winter and the holidays upon us. Thank you for sharing. :c)

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  2. Thank you, Sarah. I was actually crying when I wrote it. She has some pull on me. I looked out the window a few minutes ago to see if she was there, but she's gone. I hope she's out there at lunch.

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  3. John Avery12/01/2011

    I was moved by this post, Krystal. Good thoughts for all to remember.
    - john

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  4. LOVE this...very emotional post today. Great share! Thanks:)

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  5. Really beautiful and moving Krystal.

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  6. John, Tania and Debra, thank you. I was moved by the woman..I have been for a long time. I hope she receives this message well...and I hope everyone else does.

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  7. There, but for the grace of God, go I

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  8. Gave me chills. I'm sure she'll receive this well! I think we're all moved by images like this.

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  9. xo! You gave me my cry for the day :)

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  10. Amazing and powerful post Krystal.

    I was once in your place, seeing the people on the street corner with their signs, knowing that I should do something, give something. If only I had the time and the means to be the person I know I’m supposed to be instead of the guy who forgets them in lieu of being caught up in simple “survive the day” selfish notions. And now I am that person … homeless, working extra hours just so I have a warm place to “be” and I think, maybe if I had taken the time or given my last dollar then maybe God would give me some help now, some hope or at least means. Maybe I wasn’t a good enough person to deserve it. No one ever thinks they’re lives could turn out like this especially after working so hard to avoid it. When the tables turn, however, it’s too late.

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  11. Thank you, all of you, for reading and commenting. I have now searched her out and failed at finding her twice. I'm worried. She's sat on the same corner for so many years, and now that I need to share this with her, I can't find her. I pray I wasn't too late.

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  12. Very beautiful and moving letter, Krystal. <3

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  13. Beautiful and straight from the heart, for as was said, there but for fortune, go we. Your letter speaks to and for us all.
    However, if she was smiling and hugging others, perhaps some family members who have been searching for years have finally located her and she is now with them in a warm and safe home.

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  14. Thank you Connie and Prudence. I'm sure I'll see her again. She's been standing there for a long time. :-(

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  15. That is a beautiful post, Krystal. As you said on my blog, we all have to remember people like this, especially at this time of year. I reckon you'll see her again.

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  16. I'm only discovering this today. I used to see a woman like this every day begging outside the tube when I lived in London. I've often thought about her over the years - mostly in the context of regretting never speaking to her.

    Fair play to you for being a better person.

    C.x

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  17. Thanks for stopping by Caren. It took me a long time to be the good person. It's hard, but somehow connecting with her has helped me in so many ways. Crying with her was amazing. Gloria is a friend now. :-)

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