My feet walked every day down the crowded streets of empty people. The gum paved sidewalk died under the thousands of oblivious sneakers and heals, and none said thank you. Eyes were glossy, attention plugged in elsewhere. There weren't smiles, and the streets were roaring with the scream of silence.
The road was lined with small shops and businesses of overpriced items. Trapped behind counters were salesmen who didn't really care about someone else's master piece. Instead, they were bribed to hide themselves from the sun in exchange for a paycheck.
I walked down the street merely feeling. I felt my feet vibrate against cement and not fields. My smiles were received with blank faces. I was a stranger among the crowds.
A old man stood in the doorway of a shop, dressed in a uniform that dictated his status. He looked down at me with eyes that still held life. The only two in the world who weren't plugged into distractions to take us from the lonely silence. He chirped good morning, and smiled when my face lit up. I remember the feeling hovering around me for the rest of the day. There were still people who cared.
The next day I walked the same road. I saw lifeless people drift mindlessly up the sidewalk, and if I looked far enough down I could see the man in the doorway.
I approached, and he looked me in the eyes to wish me good morning, and I sopposed I surprised him when I responded.
As I continued to travel down the straight cement line, I heard him wish lovely days to other people, and they responded in cold silence. Soon his lone voice drifted out of hearing, and I was left to wonder if anyone besides myself answered.
Another evening passed, and the next morning I approached him again.
"Good morning." He pipped, sounding so cheery for a man who merely stood in a doorway all day.
I asked him, "How to you manage to stand there so long? Don't you get bored?"
His reply was simple. "I live."
And I continued on my way.
Mornings passed, and every day his face would light up as we encountered. I soppose I was the highlight of his day. He began to know what time to expect me, and I always found him so eager for a change in pace.
Every day something a little new was added. He told me what he thought of his name. Or why he hated headphones. Or his belief on time. It was always something short and simple, yet I found herself thinking about it and realizing its truth at the end of the day.
They were things taken for granted, and he added just enough question to make it dissolve, and alter my life for that day.
One day the man wasn't there. I felt her heart crash down, curious why I had such a strong reaction. I walked the path I always did, and again noticed the shallow people and unappreciated surroundings. I puzzled at how they had faded, and I too had blocked them out to look forwards to something better. Now walking down to sidewalk, I promised never to become one of them. I wanted to make a difference.
The next morning, two stood in the doorway, wishing everyone a good morning.
I no longer saw empty people, but lonely people. I smiled at strangers, and gave people complements they would think about long after I'd said them.
I realized how I could alter anyone's life.
I'd talk to the woman in front of me in line, and the man behind the counter with the bored face and bring light back into his eyes. I picked flowers into baskets to leave on stranger's porches, and chalk murals that caused people to acknowledge the ground they walked on.
And then one day I was the only one in the doorway. And the same followed for days, weeks, months. The seasons changed, and my hair grew out grey. I felt lonely again. The only one in the world who stopped to question the isolation in everyday life.
My strong stride had long ago turned to a slow hobble, and my prefect posture had sunken to slouch.
As I hobbled down the street, people brushed past me left and right, sometimes upsetting my balance, but always never looking back. As I made my way to the doorway, I felt a presence behind me. I slowly turned, expecting to be mistaken, and was surprised to see a young girl looking up at me.
The young girl smiled a lively smile, and didn't brush passed me like I expected, but merely walked behind my slow and troubled steps. I reached my doorstep and wished her a good day. Her face lit up, and she continued down her path slowly.
I wondered why she would go so slow when her young legs could fly with her spirit.
Every day she passed me in her same slow domeanor. I had to know. One day I asked her, "How do you have the tolerance to walk so slowly all the time?"
And she responded, " When you rush through life you miss the presents along the path. How come you care?"
And then there were two in the doorway.