Listening to Kathleen Purvis at the Charlotte Writers’ Club meeting last night, I was surprised (and delighted) to hear her say that not enough blogs “told a story.” Too many, she said, are devoted to “quick” information. I feel like I’ve been given licence to be as wordy as necessary. And from a professional no less! Not that such licence is free. With it comes an expectation that said stories will be good – interesting, well told and compelling. That’s the hard part.
Anyway, here’s part two of my story. If you haven’t already – please read Part 1 (November 10th).
A John (Part 2)
Soon, I could see the man’s eyes beneath his dirty black baseball cap. Although I was now within shouting distance, his gaze didn’t waver.
“Sir?” I called. No response. I got closer. “Sir?” Close enough to touch him. “Sir?”
That’s when I realized we were in a test of wills. He didn’t want me there and I had no idea how to gracefully extract myself. Cars were zinging past. My mother, who, despite offering the ten dollars had asked me not to do this, was in the car watching. And I, notorious meddler from way back, was standing in the middle of rush hour looking and feeling ridiculous. I stood there, wondering about the etiquette of accosting strangers in the street. Should I place the bag of food at his feet, a silent almsgiving to my guilty, comfortable conscience? Should I thrust out my hand and introduce myself? Offer him tea? Damn, what does one do with reluctant recipients of kind-hearted, misguided gestures?
As I contemplated shriveling up into the hot pavement, he turned. He didn’t acknowledge me in any way, but the slight movement of his head was enough to loose my dry and pasty tongue.
“Hello,” I offered a lame and wilting smile. “I thought maybe you’d like some food?”
“No,” he said. I felt my heart jump higher in my chest.
He shook his head, once again training his eyes just above the cars that flashed across the horizon. Confusion and embarrassment prickled my spine. It was as if I had disappeared. As if I had, in that one moment, ceased existing. Everything went silent – the street, the cars, the voice in my head. Then it all roared back to life.
Damn! What do I do now? Speak? Walk away? Run away? Somebody help me here!
And in that second, he relented. I don’t know why. He just did.