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Atmosphere

Landings

It has been a few months since I’ve moved into my own apartment in East Boston. I’ve been pretty busy trying to furnish the place tastefully and develop a routine. While I finally feel like I have a place to call my own, I still don’t know very many people in my neighborhood. So I was pleased to find out recently that a nice guy that I’d met through the fall softball league was going to be moving in just a few blocks from me. Sadly, when he first moved in, I was in the middle of a nasty cold. Thankfully, by last night I was finally feeling better, so we were able to get together for a delightful dinner. While I was walking over to his place, I noticed a man sitting on a stoop near his apartment; it was cold out and the man seemed dejected and without anywhere to go. However, this being a big city, I didn’t’ stop or attempt to engage him.

I meet up with my friend and we went out for dinner. After dinner, I walked him home, said goodnight, and continued back to my place. About half way there, I see a young guy standing in the street looking down at the curb, and as I approach, I notice that there is a man lying half on the sidewalk, half in the street. I asked the guy what had happened, and he responded that he had just come across the man lying there, and had called 911. I asked if he was going to wait until help arrived, and when he said yes, I continued back to my apartment, passing a fire truck responding to the call en route. The sight of the man in lying there has stuck with me. His legs were on the sidewalk, and his torso and head were on the street, near the curb. I’m not sure if it was the same guy I saw earlier sitting on the stoop, but my gut tells me that it was.

I wonder what happened to him; how did he end up there, in that sad position, all alone. The street where he was lying borders Logan airport; he had come to rest not far whence jetliners ascended and descended daily in their mechanical monotony. Where was he from? Did he lose his housing at the end of last month? Will he be okay? Such are the sights that one does not see in the sanitized streets of self-segregating suburbia.

It was a melancholic encounter, for sure, but it forced me to reflect on what I have and what I have to give.

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