Nothing But Gentle

I’m walking down the street with my eyes facing down and my head in my new phone. It bought it a few days ago and am still enamored by it’s grace. I can answer a text without having to unlock my phone, the camera is amazing, the music even sounds better than before, if that’s possible.

I’m so obsessed over it that I don’t hear the man on the street asking me for money. It doesn’t matter, he asks the person behind me too. Perhaps I can feel good that, because I didn’t give, the man behind me gave. Yeah, that sounds good.

I keep walking down the street and turn the corner. I don’t really need anything from the store, I just want to look around. Window shopping, really.

Another man is sitting on the sidewalk asking for money and the first thought that comes into my head isn’t one of kindness.

I clutch my phone even tighter to me as I pass, as to not give the man any ideas. I make the mistake of looking into his eyes and, inside them, I can see what was once a face full of hope and love. I pity him for looking like he does now. Nevertheless, this man is not my problem. He got himself into this mess and he needs to get himself out of it.

I keep walking with my head down and my mind in the clouds.

I finally make it to the store and am able to walk around behind the safety of the security guards.

I marvel over the new laptops that just shipped in and gawk at their expensive price tag. I may have just gotten a new item, but I could start saving for a laptop too. I guess there was nothing wrong with the one I had now but you can never deny the power of an upgrade.

I browse for a little longer, ignoring the ringing in my pocket. Whatever it was, it could wait; I was almost done with my rounds.

As I leave the store, I remember my phone. Six missed called from my sister. What could be the issue?

I try to ring her back and she doesn’t answer. My palms gain moisture as the panic rises.

Of course everything is okay. She’s probably just asking about Christmas gifts.

My phone rings again and I couldn’t answer it fast enough.

I ask if everything was okay and, apparently, it wasn’t. My parents had just been killed in a car accident. My world was crashing down around me and all I could focus on was that I had just spent my afternoon in a store full of things I didn’t need.

I shrink to the floor in tears as people pass me by, people on their phones who walk in and out of the store. I look at them in anger, in grief, and wonder when someone will offer to help me up.

No one does.

I take a look around and see the people that I passed by earlier, in the same way people were ignoring me. What I wouldn’t give for a friendly face right now.

I sat there, as the hours passed, weeping into my jacket, when a sound in front of me stops me from crying.

It’s them, standing in front of me, the one’s I ignored. They are smiling, pushing a warm cup of hot chocolate toward me. I am offered a blanket and given respite.

They sit by me and ask me what is wrong and they do not ignore me when I speak. They show love and are nothing but gentle. They pray over me and offer me a place to stay.

I struggle to find words for their kindness and instead am only able to mutter “thank you”. These people that have nothing have given me everything when I needed it most.

I stand up to leave and they ask where I am going. I tell them the truth, that I have a home, but I reassure them that I will be back soon. That I will not forget them, that I will not ignore them any longer.

~~

Thank you all so much for reading this! Did you like it? Want to respond? Want more short stories every week? “Like”, follow, and leave a comment below!

-blake lonero

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