The Burger King at Vermont

Stopped for a coke and as I leave a black man asks if I have any money, miss. And responding to his edged voice I say I will instead buy him food. And he would like a strawberry shake. I’ll get you something else too.

I probably spent about 40 minutes at this Burger King. Blacks and Hispanics work together and are cheerful. This is where everyman lives. I cannot escape going down here for this is where my heart enables my life to feel. One skinny young man putting the food together in a bag has uniformed pants hanging precariously on nothing; a young Hispanic girl putting the hamburgers together in the back smiles brilliantly, glowingly; I practice my horrible Spanish with the cute swarms of Hispanic children by my feet, and smile at their mother. How amazing these people are, first of all because they are bilingual, but mostly because they truly live a life of challenges but they live for family and with unpretention.

So outside I give the food to this black man. And he says thank you miss and I shrug it off because accolade is out of place. I drive off and honk and his long strong arm rises with a firm wave and the most beautifully freeing smile. I wish I knew his name.

I am the winner. I win, and I have not seen or given enough. I filled a human need of hunger and how innately simple that is, to feed another individual. It is not a responsibility it is below it. It should be necessary taking care that is inseparable from self. But it is not. We do separate. We know the givens and the given-not. And we are afraid of demands and want to give on our own time, when we want. It is then not a beautiful act.

So he gave more. Of himself he expressed first a sense of boldness, then trust, then friendliness. He gave me a connection to everyman; I filled a fleeting human need. He enlivened soul, dispelled the disparity for my dime. I became nourished everyman, he took away my misunderstanding hunger. Let me be everyman. Let me know alike.


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