It was 8:30 at night.
He was neither young nor old. He wasn’t slight or heavy. His hair was brown, curly and blunt. A do-it-yourself haircut. He wore an old t-shirt and ragged pants.
I looked at him as he was pulling a big trashcan out of a store.
The lights were already dim … doors ready to close … just a couple of more chores, and then home.
I could feel the ache in his body from working on his feet all day long. Emptying the trash after sweeping up is the last task before locking up. His is a job for the teenager or for a student, and yet he has the look of someone’s father … someone’s husband … a someone who is as tired as he is.
It was 8:30 at night and most of the other small stores were closed.
Who is this man and what’s his story?
I don’t know. He just happened to be there when I was driving by. Traffic stopped; my eyes just wandered – and then I saw him.
· What dreams did he have?
· Did he tell his parents that he wanted to be a fireman when he grows up?
· Did he have parents?
· Did he grow up aimless, not sure of who he is and what to be?
· Was he a promising musician, artist or actor who devoted years to his craft and became one of those “who did not make it”, without any alternative plan?
· Was he recently fired or laid off, not knowing what to do with himself – taking any job available just to make some money or to have health insurance for his family?
· Did he ever imagine that at age 45 he would be making minimum wage like his son?
So many dreams and so much pain.
A middle-aged man pulling a trash can and sweeping the floor, slowly, achingly without hope.