At a stop sign -- I reached a hand to the man on the street.
His forehead sweat was glowing in the sun and his eyes showed signs of long nights hugging the bottle. He seemed lonely. And tender.
So I reached a hand to show him I see him. That I care. That I'm there.
He hesitated and looked at my empty palm, as if questioning 'why would this woman give me nothing?' I looked again at my reached hand: it was empty. I was offering nothing to the man on the street.
Someone honked behind me, with a rushed 'get on with it' tone.
So I rolled up my window and drove away. From the rearview mirror I saw the man on the street: he was shaking his head at my empty gesture, laughing at it. He didn't need it. He didn't need me. He didn't need an empty hand reaching to him out of pity. Out of ignorance. Out of privilege. He flashed a million dollar smile, shaking his head.
He grabbed the bottle from the pocket of his Swiss army jacket. It was a full bottle of Jim Beam, and I drove away, thinking:
'HE had his hands full hugging the bottle. It was I that had emptiness in my hands.
The man in the street held more in the palm of his hands, than the twice-showered me in a hybrid new car. '
I drove away and never saw the man again. But I continue reaching my empty hand -- hoping that one day it will be filled again.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman