It was 152 degrees Fahrenheit on the bustling corner of Nostrand and Church Avenue. There was already a line at Number One Jerk Spot and the doors to the local delis were revolving with customers buying cold bottled water and salty afternoon snacks. A man, dressed too warm for the weather, skin with scars that tell ancient battle stories, unkempt coarse and tightly curled hair, parched full lips, and a blue bandana is desperately writhing on his back on the corner. Spilled food and trash left by sanitation workers surround his head like a crown.
An audience of older men a little less busy than their dreams had planned, look on as if they are at a funeral of someone who was waiting on death. An elder woman was furiously fanning this writhing man with her black Sunday school teacher hat as she stood over him on the street corner. Her bob cut wig was struggling to stay on, and she was several years too hot and tired for this, but only death could stop her. She falconed over him, straddling his body as her too heavy leather purse swung like a steady pendulum. "Leave me alone!" the man managed to wail through his dry mouth. royal blue prom dresses 2019
"GET UP, MAN! I SAID, GET UP, RIGHT NOW!" She demanded over and over, while continuously fanning him and accidentally brushing his face with the swiftly moving hat. It was like she felt she had the power to raise the dead, but the writhing man was past dead. He lived elsewhere. He had no fire. He had no will to stand.
I watched as long as I felt comfortable, and as I turned to walk down into the 333 degreees Fahrenheit train station, I hear one of the older gentleman say to another gentleman in patois. "Him she son. And she want him fi stand."
And I melt inside- feeling the despair of that mother who was fanning her writhing son on that busy street corner. And I think about the thousand times I have seen someone struggling on our city's sidewalks and thought: "That is someone's child."