Almost 9:30 and the sun is shining, the day well on its way to the 75 degree high that has been promised to it. I have my pants legs rolled up for the vitamin D, and this combined with a hat and too many bags results in people looking at me twice–discreetly–before they sit near me. Until they see clean white of my shirt, notice my shoes aren’t too worn, they have to consider that I might be homeless, or I might be crazy.
First one pigeon, then another, lands on the cement platform. Their heads duck and bob as they peck and peck at I don’t know what, until I look closer and see the small crumbs glistening in the sun like grains of sand. Tan sand on gray concrete. The pigeons’ eyes are orange with round black centers and their feet are a redder shade of orange with black tipped toes. Claws? Their feet are red-orange with black tips.
And then a man comes by, the real thing now: Probably homeless, probably crazy, his mostly-gray frizzy and his clothes loose and touched by grime. He comes up one set of stairs and strides the length of the platform yelling,
“You don’t see me?
I see you not looking!
Which is maybe not so crazy at all. It happens fast, he walks fast and doesn’t look right or left, doesn’t look at anyone he might be addressing, doesn’t burden anyone with dreaded confrontation. And then he’s at the other end of the platform and down the stairs he goes, down to the traffic and the city.
And no one on the platform, standing and on the benches, looks up from their book or iPhone. No one’s expression betrays the relief we feel that he’s gone.