Saturday, May 23, 2009
Bailey (published in 6S Vol 2)
On a sidewalk near Vesey Street, Bailey shook his cup and smiled at each person as he asked them for spare change. Dreadlocked and dirty, the sores on his arms covered by long sleeves, he tried hiding the shame in his eyes while ignoring the occasional taunts of “get a job you fucking bum.” Even though he was used to it the words always hurt, almost as much as the sneers businessmen gave him and the way women stuffed coins back in their purses, turning cold shoulders to him as if he were invisible. Inside Starbucks the Assistant Manager started towards the door again to chase him away for the third time that morning; Bailey was hurrying to put his belongings back in his cart when the first plane slammed in the Tower. Within hours the neighborhood that he knew had drastically changed – those same men and women now looked just like him with dazed expressions and blank stares, afraid and fearful of all they had lost. And in the horror of that day, when it all fell apart for so many, Bailey smiled as he realized that for once he wasn’t alone with his fears any more.