A day does not oft go by without an encounter between commuters and the lifeless form strewn upon the pavement just before Les Halles. Though all signs point to a life passed on into the next, the tight grip of a coffee-chain cup prevents such final assertions.
He lays there, quiet. Bodies pass without acknowledging the pitiful position of this man below them. They glance for a few seconds, hold their bags and pockets closer to their persons. He does not move.
Bare feet rest on the cold stone, swollen and battered. The skin is markedly torn, the toenails yellowed and forgotten about. His clothes act like a cloak of invisibility. The black polyesters of his pants, jacket and hat are discreet. His face is a mystery as it is always downturned, kissing the cobblestone.
The cup is left alone. Perhaps a few cents will be launched at its rim for the joy of the passersby. The act is more a sport than one of graciousness.
A sport that fails to stir the cupholder’s idle form.
You walk by him, amidst the lights of festive Christmas decorations. You wonder what he wishes for. You bid him farewell in your mind.
Until tomorrow, my friend.
I remember this guy. Perhaps his story would sell better if he changed his grip on the coffee cup. I do hope he has a Merry Christmas. After all, Jesus died for him too.