Seeing isn’t easy.
I stuffed my hands deeper into my jacket pockets, hunching my shoulders against the damp wind that meant a spring storm was on the way. I could smell it on the air, feel it in my bones.
But weather wasn’t the only thing I saw today.
I stared out across the street to the sidewalk on the other side where a homeless man huddled on his throne of shopping bags and ratty blankets. There was a battered tin bowl nearby, and as I watched, a man knocked it with his foot and sent it skittering a few feet across the concrete. The homeless man didn’t even look up.
The pedestrians passed back and forth on both sides of the street, merely the ghosts of thought and emotion. They were like bubbles carried on by a stream.
The homeless man was stationary. He was real. He was a sickly gray and brown that was slowly closing in on itself.
Then for a moment all I could see was him. A fluttering moment of panic that wasn’t mine, but came from the unmoving man. A stutter in the flow of life around me. Then the stream flowed over it, smoothed over the colors, smeared the loss and fear to the point that even I could barely tell it had been there.
I turned and walked down the sidewalk, walking against the crowd, seeing the colors part around me.