2.26.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Paul McDonough
Photo by Paul McDonough

February 26, 2014: Some were blessed.

One Reply to “2.26.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. On a day like today, when the sun wants to be out and each breath is thicker than taking warm soup and the streets are bright and busy and the people have taken their coats off so you can see the shape and misshape of their bodies, on a day like today with the horns of taxis playing and their windows wound down and the songs from radios hanging in the air, on this day I don’t want to be inside where it’s cool and dark; there’s no blessing in being alone.

    So I put a shine to my glassy shoes and I brush my hair to something like neat and I step outside. There’s a music to the streets if you listen: the sounds of cars and trucks with their engines thrumming, and the calls of traders, and girls laughing, and a dog barking somewhere. And old Mrs Caldwell and she walks with a stick now and the sound of her stick is like a single drumstick falling and the click of her shoes is like slow dancing and I say her ‘good morning’ and she tells me it is and she gives me a wrapped boiled sweet from her bag.

    And there’s a man who sits on the corner of Goose and Vine and he sits on an old cage that might once have held singing birds and he holds a plastic cup in one hand and he’s asking for pennies. And today he sits in his shirt and his head is tilted back and his eyes shut so its like he’s sleeping, except he’s speaking, too. In whispers he speaks, as a man would in church, and it could be a prayer that he’s saying for his face is so soft today and all pain taken from him, and I drop some silver into his cup and he blesses me and he pulls from his shirt pocket a scrap of paper on which he has written a reference from the bible.

    Then there is music, all tinny and tap, and chanting like a child would do on a long car journey, the same words sung over and over, and the words have lost their shape so they are just sound. And some of the people turn away, pretending they don’t hear or don’t see; and others smile at these outsized children dressed in orange and with their heads shaved like they could be newborn. And their music, if we hear it, blesses us all. And one in their company steps forward and makes a gift of an orange petalled flower to me.

    I cross the busy road and I am looking for someone in particular. There’s a girl I see some days and though the space between us is as wide as a sea, she dares to smile at me, and she waves sometimes, through the glass front of the shop where she works, and she blows me kisses if no one’s looking. I pretend to catch those kisses, in the snatch and grab of my fist, and I put them in my deepest pockets; she thinks I pretend, but when I am home again, I empty out my pockets and I am blessed twice over. And on a scrap of paper is written words from the first psalm: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.”

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