As I stood on the corner of a busy intersection waiting for a green light, I noticed a man with a horrific beard sitting half-naked on the sidewalk. His fist gripped a magic marker and he was writing on a rectangle of cardboard.
From my distance I couldn’t read what the man had written. I did observe he was creating the large word GOD. He was broadening the lines of GOD with precise attention. Working carefully, very deliberately. Like a true artist.
Making GOD bold. Preparing for his daily appeal.
My eyes were drawn to the earthy arms, earthy legs, blackened feet in broken sandals.
As I waited for the light to cross, a clean-shaven man wearing khaki shorts came up to the writing man and stared down with a smile.
Just as the light turned, the man looking down burst out laughing.
“GOD!” he roared.
Joey liked to talk to himself about deep mysteries.
He often talked about religion, and sacred texts, and sleeping outside in moonlight, and the little-known teachings of prophets, and the cruelty of rich people, and the innumerable conspiracies of the Masons and the Illuminati.
Most days he sat on a bench halfway down the pier waving at people. He really liked to wave at people passing at a distance on the big harbor tour ships. They were the nicest.
When those people saw him they all waved back. Leaning on the ship’s rail, or sitting in rows on white plastic seats facing the water, the people upon seeing him would all wave at him with happy faces and genuine smiles. They’d wave and wave and wave, as if they couldn’t wave enough, and Joey waved happily back.
Even at a distance he could clearly see their faces. He could see how the free wind moved in their hair and he could see the strange way that passing sailboats tugged at their eyes. In their eyes he saw a deep love for the gentle, rippling water and the floating clouds in blue sky. He loved those things, too.
He easily saw their joy. As he waved, he could feel an electric love and yearning passing between them, like radio waves across the water.
Even at a distance, Joey could see the light in their eyes.
When Joey waved at people who were walking past his bench on the pier, they ignored him.