Some people it seems, just naturally make more noise than others. Their heels clack louder walking down the street.
These two were like that. Clearly a mother and daughter couple, walking down the street, making themselves louder and brighter than anybody else on the crowded sidewalk. The younger woman stopped to preen her hair and check her lipstick in a storefront window, smoothing down a sundress that probably cost more than some cars.
“You should’ve seen it, Mother,” she said, giving her lips a final smack. “It was quite a show. I can’t believe she’s marrying him.”
“Oh, come on,” the mother replied. “It can’t be that bad…. It was just lunch. How badly could it have gone?”
The younger woman gave her reflection a grin.
“It was,” she deadpanned at her mother. “First, he tucked his napkin into his shirt.”
The mother rolled her eyes, gesturing for her to continue.
“And what kind of weirdo can’t tell the difference between a shrimp fork and a salad fork?” she added. “I felt bad just watching him, I swear.”
He watched them as they walked down the street, click-clacking along the sidewalk. Their eyes slid right over him, sitting on the chilly pavement, with his blanket and his “Please Help” sign scrawled onto a stray piece of cardboard.
Or not exactly. Because to have slid over him would have been an acknowledgement that something was there – after all, one does not always remark upon the presence of a tree or a bench, but you still know they are present. To look at him would’ve been to acknowledge his existence and they didn’t even offer him that much.
“Some people,” the older woman reflected, considering the fork situation. “Just don’t know how to be polite.”
They turned their steps toward the fancy glass-and-steel entrance of the building he was leaning against. Carefully, he stood up, darting over to the doors to pull them open for the two women. It was only when he held the door for them that they deigned to notice him, or at least the younger one did. Not in words, exactly…. But he was certain that the sneer of disgust that crossed her face was for none other than him.
They passed through the glass doors and he saw them on the other side, the young woman digging in her purse – looking for hand sanitizer, no doubt, feeling soiled by the mere proximity of him.
With a sigh, he flopped back onto his blanket.
“Yup,” he said, to no one in particular. “Some people have no idea how to be polite.”
350-500 words * A Homeless person * manners
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