He was the sort of person you don’t like to be confronted with. A kind of guy you understand has the right to exist, but still hope you’d not see many of them too often. You don’t dare to admit this, but actually your life would be lighter if these people were out of your sight: homeless, hopeless drug addicts, mentally disabled...
His worn out clothes used to have some sort of meaning to them, but that meaning is no longer visible under layers of dust and stains. A necklace was hanging around his neck as the last token of that lost meaning. You could see he either didn’t like or had no possibility to wash himself often. In his dirty hands he carried a pair of rosaries and his face was covered in green and brown paint – remains of the same lost meaning. He looked preoccupied with some thoughts, detached from here and now. I was sure he’d start talking in himself any moment. I also anticipated on holding my breath to avoid the smell.
We were heading towards each other on a relatively narrow pavement. Avoiding bumping into each other would need a slight effort. I was determined to make that effort because I figured he wouldn’t.
I took a step aside to let him pass. That’s when I discovered that he was perfectly aware of the world outside of him. He took a step aside too. He made a step in the same direction so we still ended up facing each other not able to pass. I couldn’t help smiling and at the very same time his face lit up in a open and warm smile.
Light-footed I headed on. Some minutes later I realised I forgot to hold my breath. :)