Humanity Reflected in a Homeless Man

My essay “Dancing Man,” in which I discuss the humanity reflected in a homeless man, was accepted by Across the Margin. It’s a true story, a memory of my encounter with a joyous street person who left an indelible mark on my heart, on my soul.

I see people on the streets all the time, carrying half a dozen bedraggled shopping bags, shuffling along the sidewalks, sometimes riding a bike (they’re the fortunate ones, I think) while laden with clearly heavy backpacks and a number of other packages–all their worldly belongings on their backs. I often wonder what brought them to this state. I’ve read others’ stories of how they lived one paycheck away from eviction every damn day. I’ve known people like that. But my own circumstances have never, thankfully, grown that dire. I often wonder how I would fare. The answers my brain feeds to those questions are not encouraging.

The point is, it could happen. To almost any one of us. Dancing Man taught me to not look away. He, and all the others like him, are as human as I am. The least I can do is acknowledge that fact.