I could have accelerated and run through the intersection as the light turned red, but I stopped with time to spare. I didn’t see him at first, waiting next to the crosswalk, his clothes almost camouflaging him. After the light change, he stood for a moment, then preparing himself, it seemed his whole body made a big sigh, an ok, lets go do this again. His hands missing some fingers, the ones he had left bent at strange angles, his digits looked longer than normal, like those of aliens in movies. As he half crossed the crosswalk and turned to my window, I could see the scars from a horrific burn – skin so damaged I could not tell what race, color, or age he was. As I put the three dollars from my purse into his Subway plastic cup, he mumbled words that were unintelligible, but his eyes, bright blue, eyebrow-less, watery, and sad, said thank you, and I said, no problem, have a good day. As I looked to see how he did with those behind me, I wished I had said God bless you, how are you feeling, what is your name? Realizing that he would not have been able to tell me his name because of his damaged vocal cords, I see another car roll down their window to put some money into his cup. The light turns green, going through the intersection, I see a cop car and slow down back to the speed limit.
Didn’t see him at first, like he just got there, but also like he had been there all day. Alien hands, holding the Subway plastic cup, missing digits, longer, nubs, blotchy, like a frog, adjusting the cup, dirty beanie cap, big clothes, sigh, slight nod of the head and body. I could see him but he couldn’t until I pushed the button, his face clearer as the window goes down, blue eyes, watery, skin burnt, healed, but scarred, the shape of his eyes pulling in different directions, nose delicate, no discernable lips. The wet eyes and snot on his cheek the same sparkly sheen, everything else mottled and dry. Dollar bills into the cup like an offering on Sunday, a throaty sound for a thank you. No problem, have a good day. Should have said God bless you. Wish I knew his name, but not enough to stop the traffic and ask to be a part of his mute life.