Writing On The Dock of The Bay
A nurse drove home through the City after work and stopped at a traffic light on Van Ness. A man with a cup stood on the median. She had seen him there many times before - lean and haggard with a straggly beard, a guitar case at his feet. She made it a practice not to give money. Sometimes, she had a tangerine from lunch that she would give away. But this December night it was clear and cold, very cold. She sat in her car waiting for the green light with her heater on, freezing. He must be really freezing, she thought. So she did something she never does. She reached into her purse and grabbed a bill. A twenty was all she had. She gulped, opened her window, and gave it to him. The man looked at the twenty dollar bill in disbelief. Are you sure??? he asked. Yes, she nodded. I'm so happy he said, his face lighting up with a smile. I can eat a hot meal tonight and I can buy a new string for my guitar and next time I see you I will play you a song - okay? She smiled and nodded and said, Yes, thank you. Then the light turned green. She drove towards home, his smile lighting the way.