Tuesday, September 29, 2015
SLICE OF LIFE
I wonder momentarily if my son smells that badly, but quickly realize it cannot be him.
I don't think the hospital would have let him go that long without a shower. And I am pretty sure I would have noticed it as we walked the two blocks from the hospital ward to the pharmacy.
There is a gentleman sitting in a chair at the pharmacy.
I wonder if he smells or if someone else just left the pharmacy.
The prescription is not ready and we have to wait.
The door opens again.
It is a woman about my age with an eight or nine-year-old girl.
The girl wears a polo shirt from an elementary school in my district.
Her long brown hair is pulled away from her face in a pony tail.
Her eyes are striking aquamarine blue.
She is beautiful.
She and the woman converse about school. She did hard math. She went to gym. She ate grilled cheese. The girl asks if she can ride her scooter when they get home and the woman tells her she will have to ask her mother. I decide the woman must be her grandmother.
I look away and when I look back she has pulled her shirt up over her nose.
She stays that way a long time, probably for almost five minutes.
Her grandmother finally notices and asks her what she is doing.
"It stinks in here," she announces.
The man, who has been sitting silent since the girl and her grandmother came in, but now he speaks.
"It's me," he says. "I live outside."
And then he apologizes for smelling bad.
The woman doesn't say anything.
The little girl with the gorgeous aquamarine eyes doesn't say anything.
I want her grandmother to tell her to apologize.
I want her to tell the little girl to be kind.
I want her to explain that not everyone has a home and a shower and a warm bed to sleep in.
But she does not.
She does not say anything.
And I want to cry.
Because there are way too many people who smell in Denver.
And way too many people who do not do anything about it.