I rolled off the highway into the neighborhood that’s the only one in Chicago that’s ever felt like a hood to me, and I was at the tail end of a trip downtown to likely spend as much time parking as I’d spend sitting at the restaurant with three or four old friends for an hour catching up.
I’d been frantically juggling scheduled and unscheduled phone calls for an hour and having gotten in the car on the phone, called my father upon hanging up, and parked while updating him on my somewhat unpredictable life-landscape, I got out of the car to pay the ridiculously overpriced box thing only to find it broken. I looked down at my phone, arguably to make sure I hadn’t dropped it when I got out of the car (necessary for a guy like me), and found out lunch was canceled.
I rolled off the highway into my ‘hood with thai-food leftovers in my head (like sugarplum, but spicy) and saw a man in his fifties with his left arm holding the rail in front of a townhome, leg cocked and ankle resting on his knee while he bent over and adjusted his sock.
But he wasn’t adjusting his sock, he was dusting it off.
His musty blue wind-breaker and off-sized brown trousers spoke in subtle tones around his worn attire and his scuffed untied broken down black sneaker waited patiently on the pavement for the impromptu cleaning to be finished.
I took my foot off the gas pedal and let my gaze briefly lock in on his world as my car slowly rolled past, never able to see his face but witness to his strength and struggle in a world without a home.
Photo by pedrosimoes7.