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I once saw a shadow man…

January 10, 2017

I realize that I have lived back in Canada now, long enough, that I don’t call people out on their First World Bullshit anymore.

“What do you mean you’re out of cinnamon for my latte?

“I don’t want to see a 9:45 movie. I want to see one at 7!”

A homeless man walks into the cafe I am sitting in in hipster Little Italy, here at College and Bathurst, and everyone politely holds their nose.

It’s not that he smells – he doesn’t. But he looks like a wind carved wild mad-eyed Jonah who has just been washed in from the sea. His coat is a rag, string holds his shoes together.

He’s scrounged together enough money to get a coffee, and because he “has money”, he is allowed to come into the cafe, and get out of the cold.

He holds the change in his hand.

I can tell by his actions that he has learned the drill. Don’t make eye contact with anyone, simply look at the floor, keep quiet, stand in line, wait his turn. Don’t make any fuss (real or imagined) that can be used against  you and then you’ll be asked to leave.

Back out into the cold.

He counts his change one more time, just to make sure.

Coffee. Black. Small.

He picks up the Star and shuffles off to the back of the cafe.

Everybody sees him, no one looks at him.

The invisible homeless man.

Just trying to stay warm on a cold January day.

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