I saw his outline in the fog. He seemed frail and lost. Getting out of my car I bent down and reached out to him. He was shivering in the cold, his body was skeletal and the elbows seemed all bent at an angle.
The sunken eyes were devoid of any emotion, not even pain resided there. He looked much older than his age. His wispy hair matted, uncombed. The tatters barely covered his body and could hardly hold in any warmth.
I had picked up coffee for my ride home to beat the chill. I handed him the coffee. He looked at me but I could not fathom his gaze. His shaking hands held the Styrofoam cup and he fought to keep it steady.
I handed him some biscuits and draped my jacket around him.
On my way home my thoughts kept returning to him and I could barely eat my dinner. In my cozy bed, I was cold as the thoughts of him on the street battling against the cold winds made me shiver.
Early in the morning I loaded my car with basic utensils, a blanket, an old mattress.
I deliberately took that route (though it was a detour) I wanted to check in on him.
My jacket lay there beside some odd smelly rags. A rotten apple and some coins.
I looked for him and could not find him anywhere.
The cop came and tried to shoo me away, I asked him about the homeless man.
He said he had passed away during the night. He was very casual about it.
The cop asked me if I knew him. I shook my head and turned.
The news had landed like a punch and I was still out of breath.
As I headed back to my car I saw it. It could be easily missed but it was there.
I lifted my jacket and saw the words chalked on the dirty grey pavement.
And the fog and chill vanished.