Monday, February 14, 2005


This isn't exactly a Valentine's story, but here goes...

I must've been 20 or 21, and things were not going well. I was working as a bartender in a fancy downtown restaurant where the waiters wore tuxedos. But I was just the day shift bartender and very little of that money trickled down to me. There were other issues going on in my life as well-- things that don't bear going into. Suffice to say that I was living pretty close to the edge in a lot of ways.

So one summer afternoon I was standing at my usual bus stop on Main Street, waiting for the #20 and idly watching people go by. Suddenly I noticed off in the distance, a bum walking my direction. I was young, but not stupid and I turned away quickly. Experience had taught me that making eye contact would only enourage him to approach and try to sell me some rusted nail clippers or beg for a dollar outright.

But as I turned away, something odd caught my eye. Something red. Curiosity overpowered street smarts and I looked at the man again.

He seemed ordinary enough for a homeless guy wandering downtown-- wild matted hair, dirty denim overalls... and a bouquet of red roses.

Wait a minute! Roses?

Yes, this dirty homeless guy was ambling down the street as if he hadn't a care in the world, carrying a bunch of slightly windblown red roses, their stems wrapped in a scrap of newspaper. Against all common sense, I stared.

And our eyes met.


I turned away again, but it was too late. In what seemed like an instant he was in front of me. I opened my mouth to protest that I had no money, but before I could form a single word, the man pressed the flowers into my hands. I tried again to say something, but the words wouldn't come out in time, and through the buzzing in my brain I heard him say, "Here you go, m'am. You have a nice day. Have a nice day."

And then he was gone, continuing on his way up the street, with me staring at his back, speechless. He never turned around to see if I was watching him and I never saw him again.

I have no idea where he got the flowers, or why he gave them to me. I wish I could say they immediately made my life better, but they didn't. They did remind me though, that life was still strange, mysterious and wonderful. And that good things can happen when you least expect it.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!


Nightmare said...

Inspiration takes many forms. I had a bum once give me 2 trout and his walking staff because I was nice enough to sell him a cold beer on a hot day.

Life is small doses.

Don't sweat the petty things,
Pet the sweaty things!

Thanks for dropping by and reading my silly ramblings.

Kymmie said...

It just one of those things. You were picked for some reason you will later (or never???) find out about. But isn't that the best thing? It's supposed to make you want to do nice things for other people. And keep that guy in your mind and heart for his generosity. FOREVER.

Because that may be the only safe place he has to go. EVER.

Kyle said...

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
~William Shakespeare, Mid-Summer Night's Dream, 1595

Geezitron said...

I loved this post and it's refreshing to see that other people see life similar to me. Just about the time I get sick of this life and am wishing my way off this neverending ride around the sun , something bizarre happens and reminds me to take another breath.

writtenwyrdd said...

A sweet story. It's good to be reminded that the universe holds mystery, even small ones. And kindness and love are never small.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

THAT is cool.