I walk in the cold, the wind lashing my face until I feel the purple of my cheeks. I bring my shoulders to my neck and shiver, hands in my pockets, I walk on. I try to ignore the cold until I see a man. My pace slows, my head turns to look. He is without gloves and wears a threadbare coat. He is bravely walking the streets, an orange garbage bag clenched in his chapped frozen hands. He walks with his eyes to the ground, searching for remnants of anything useful, or maybe enough to buy a cup of coffee and sit in the warmth of a café. His walk is slow and gradual and I can tell he has no place to go, no place to be. When he raises his head, he looks at me. I can see in his eyes, years of uncertainty, loss and desperation. He looks long enough to make me look away. My pity for him of no comfort and my sadness for him unnoticed. I wonder if there is somebody that loves him, waiting for him to come home. I wonder if he is searching for a way home. I wonder how many times people have crossed his path, looked as I have looked, and walked on. I wonder if he has asked, hoping to receive and been abruptly turned away or sarcastically mocked. I wonder how his heart broke at the unchanging unkindness he may have received. I wonder, as I watch him for a few more moments how many of us stop and offer words of encouragement, or bring him in from the cold if only for a few minutes. I wonder if there has ever been kindness in his life.
He lifts his plastic orange bag over his shoulder, he brings his shoulders to his neck. I can see the purple cold on his face, I can see the wind abusing his body. He squints his eyes, tucks one hand into his pocket and walks on.