On the way home, a man trips over the curb as he steps up onto the sidewalk, trenchcoat flapping, and his iPhone goes flying out of his hands. He’s stretching, he’s reaching, he’s falling. A commuter passes by in the opposite direction and tosses a dollar bill at a crippled man who sits curled up on a piece of folded cardboard at the base of the church just down from Penn Station, Manhattan. The dollar and the iPhone cross mid air. A man is reaching for the falling dollar. A man is reaching for his phone. Reaching, falling and he falls and scrambles. The twisted homeless man is reaching, trying to stand, but he can’t. The two men’s hands cross, reaching, falling.
Two short women in black, puffy coats down to their tiny ankles cross the street with small steps. In little matching angora hats and black boots, they mince along the pavement. The women cross themselves as they step up on the curb in front of the church. Just in front of them the crippled homeless man sits back down on his cardboard on the sidewalk and leans against the wall of the church. He holds a plastic cup up toward them in his crooked hand, his fingers twisted onto themselves. The women look way, way up at the church and pass in front of him without seeing him at all.
It’s a cold and clear night tonight when I pass by him. I pass the same crippled man begging every night. I pull my coat tighter around me against the biting wind. I’m walking fast, I always walk fast. I’m going somewhere. I’m going home. But really, I am not just going somewhere, I am somewhere. I’m in front of a church where a man drops his iPhone and falls, another tosses a dollar, the crippled man begs, women cross themselves and I hurry down the street. And although something in my thoughts is reaching, I know that I’m falling too. Reaching and falling. To catch myself I have think I’m going somewhere. But for now, I’m not just going somewhere, I am somewhere. I’m here.