He was tall and thin and carried a black garbage bag onto
the subway car. His skin was dark and his face unshaven.
I remember looking at another homeless man that day on
the F. He walked on to the train at the 14th street station
by Union Square, and just stood there across from where
I was standing.
And people gave him his “room” too, because that’s
what you do when the homeless walk onto your train,
you just give them their space, and hope they don’t
I just stared at him and looked at his eyes, because
the eyes never change, even when you’re homeless.
He looked back at me, his eyes were as dark as coal,
he said nothing.
I know he felt strange when I saw him too. So he just
walked away and sat down on a seat facing the opposite
direction so I couldn’t notice who he was.
The people sitting next to him all got up and found
other seats in the subway car.
I walked towards him though, and sat beside him.
“Hey Donald, remember me?
it’s Ronnie from Art & Design”
He turned his head towards me,
but didn’t look in my eyes this time.
“How you doin man?” is all he said
“I’m fine Don, I’m fine”
“Yeah, well, you know since High School
things have been a little rough for me”
“I’m ok, but things are just not that good”
I remember my first day of high school back in 1972,
Donald was one of the first people I sat with at
the lunch table in the back of the cafeteria.
Donald always wore these really cool tinted sunglasses and
had a small goatee. While most other kids weren’t even
shaving yet, including me, Don looked like he may have
been about 20 years old.
Along with Donald, I also sat with Ernest and Sandy.
Donald and Ernest were black, while Sandy was Jewish.
We were certainly a cross section of New York, but hey.
That’s what made the High School of Art and Design
so cool back in 1972.
Yeah, the High School of Art and Design. I never knew
some of my best friends were gay until my senior year.
And to tell you the truth it never really mattered either.
Because we were all such good friends, and all artists anyway.
All going to a school were nobody cared about “what” you
were. And no one felt they were better than anyone else.
We all just loved that school so much,
including my friend Donald.
“Hey man I’m getting off here”
I reached into by jacket and gave
Donald a twenty-dollar bill.
Donald just looked at me and said “thanks”.
That was about 25 years ago and
I haven’t seen Donald since.
So the next time you see someone riding
the F-train with a bundle of sorrow.
Think about my friend Donald, and never
ever feel that you’re better than anyone else.
Because someday that person just might be you.
Think Summer Now - View from the front porch We are located in Delaware County between Downsville and Andes New York. A ride less than three hours from NYC on a Friday night ...
8 years ago