Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Picture In A Wallet

The guy in front of me in line was dressed in old dirty clothes, including a baseball cap with the American flag.  He walked with a crutch and had the glittery eyes of someone struggling to understand his surroundings. A veteran from the Vietnam era?  Maybe. Cigarette smoke wafted off his shirt. So did the smell of the street--a mix of sweat, grime and exhaust.  Or maybe exhaustion . . . It can't be easy to live in his skin.

He opened his wallet to pay.  The leather was in the same condition as the rest of him, and so was the stack of smudged business cards, wrinkled ID cards, other notes. The wallet held a grimy, depressing mess except for one full-color photograph of a girl in her late teens, smiling with perfect white teeth, her brunette hair long on her shoulders.

The picture had been taken recently judging by the girl's clothing and its pristine condition. A daughter? A niece?  I'll never know, but I wonder who she is, and if she knows what a bright spot she is in this man's life. I hope she does.

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