Hey Kid

On Saturday, I was walking up Park Avenue on my way to buy groceries, when I came upon a boy, no more than thirteen, weeping on the corner of 83rd Street.   images-2 Naturally I had to stop, something I do faithfully regardless who it is that’s crying. Many times it’s a ruse to get you to fork over some cash, but I knew this wasn’t going to be the case. He looked too snappy in his chinos and Pima cotton button-down, an opened navy parka with his school insignia gracing the front.

“Hey kid, what’s the matter?” I asked, meandering over to him.

“Nothin,” he said, tears streaming down his coco-colored face. He was a beautiful boy with at least one parent African American, the other luminously light-skinned.

Kids always say, nothin or no, or don’t want any. I’ve learned you need to be gently insistent helping them along.

A mother I know once told me, you never ask a kid if he’s hungry since they’ll usually say no. You just plunk the plate down and they’ll automatically eat.

I smiled and said, “It sure doesn’t look like nothin to me, and I should know since I cry on the hour.”

This got his attention. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I’m a little too sensitive for my own good. Tell me, did someone hurt you in some way?” He crossed his arms protectively before shrugging no.

I should have left, but just couldn’t without knowing he was really okay. I was a battered kid in chronic denial too. I’m not saying this was the case with him, but that wounded part of me wanted to make sure he didn’t need help of any kind.

“If you don’t mind me asking, are you waiting for somebody?”

“My dad…and he’s pretty late.”

“Did you call him?” The tears started all over again.

“I don’t have a phone.” When you think even dogs carry phones nowadays, this seemed extremely odd.

“You could use mine,” I said, hauling out my BlackBerry.

After studying me for a minute he mumbled, “Okay, thanks.”

“Tell me the number and I’ll dial,” I said, before handing him the phone.

“Dad, it’s me Jacob…where are you?…alright…I will. A lady let me borrow hers.”  I motioned for him to give me the phone.

“Hi, this is Susannah Bianchi, and I’m here with your son who’s worried about you…are you okay?… This was strategy…making it about him and not the boy. Apparently he was stuck in heavy traffic due to an accident on the FDR Drive.

Listen…would it be okay if I went with your son to the coffee shop on 83rd and Lex to wait for you there? Then no one needs to worry.”

He thanked me, agreeing it was a great idea, so me and Jake, as he informed me he likes being called, strolled one avenue over for hot chocolate.

Compassion can certainly be time consuming, I thought, as we waited for the light to change.

It seemed the reason he was even there on a Saturday was because he was serving detention after getting in some sort of trouble at his school. I wanted to pry but didn’t, at least not much.

“Is that why you don’t have a phone?”

“Yeah,” he said somberly. Taking a kid’s cell these days is like cutting off his arm.

We sat and slurped, getting refills on the house and once again I felt the pang of never being a mom.

When his dad, the light-skinned parent, showed up throwing his arms around his son, all fear of neglect and abuse took immediate flight.

I guess tough love was in order here, something I’m not sure I’d be very good at.

“Thanks so much for stepping in,” he said, taking money from his wallet.

“No, it was my pleasure. Jake’s a wonderful boy.”

When I went to pay John, the owner, he said, “It’s on me.”

See, John doesn’t have kids either…sigh

SB

 

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About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in Family, food, Home, humor, kids, Love, New York City, parents and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Hey Kid

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    Oh, Susannah, you are one of the kindest hearted people I know. I love this story. It gives one faith in humanity.

    Like

  2. edwardcres says:

    Sometimes you really do make Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Ghandi look like a pair of bookies.

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    • Hi stranger…that’s pretty funny Ed…but if you were raised by Attila the Hun your heart, that opens anyway, would swing like a saloon door too 🙂

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      • edwardcres says:

        Granted, but you could have just as easily turned into Attila the friggin’ Junior. And 99% of the inhabitants of our fair city, including me, would have seen the tears and kept right on walking.

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      • I don’t know about that. You’re a big sap too, who you kidding? Kids, babies, pits and the elderly get special attention. As far as me following in Mussolini’s footsteps, I find it goes either way. When kicked around you either become worse that the kicker, or ST. Francis with birds on his shoulders. Just call me Frankie with a coupla parakeets.

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  3. I love your stories of compassion, Susannah. You should really be a child therapist. Well, maybe you wouldn’t want to be, but I think you’d be good at it. Thanks for sharing. You’re awesome. 🙂

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    • All the way from Korea I’m awesome…that’s awesome David…I went back, on your recommendation, and reread Lunch With Jesus. I do like to pen these encounters down…feels good creatively and spiritually. Thanks.

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      • I think you do well since you keep your eyes open and then do something about it. So many people probably would have walked right past that boy without even noticing, or if they did, vaguely wondered if everything was okay and then kept going.

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      • Let me tell you something David, nothing gets by me. I’m like I’m a human telescope. And I know where it stems from…when you come from an alcoholic home where nothing is nailed down…you’re vigilant with senses like a cat. Since my hearing issues, my other senses, as in sight and smell, have stepped up to the plate.

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      • That probably makes you a better writer, noticing little details. It’s a great skill.

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      • As I reader, I appreciate another writer doing it. According to Stephen King and Strunk and White, we should leave much of that to the reader’s imagination, but I disagree.The more the merrier I say 🙂

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  4. micklively says:

    I still don’t understand why he was crying. Am I being dumb?
    On behalf of the human race (you didn’t know I was appointed spokesperson?) thank you Susannah for being who you are.

    Like

  5. Lynn says:

    Sadly, I think most people would have walked by this young man & just thought…poor kid. Good on you for taking the time to stop & offer to help. I am certain both the father & his son were incredibly grateful!

    Like

    • Must be tough being a father and son, especially at that age. He was still a boy about to burst into manhood. The father looked so happy to see him…would have melted your heart. I of course needed a drink after that.

      Like

  6. katecrimmins says:

    That that just ruined every impression I have of native New Yorkers! But then again, you always do. If I had a child (and I don’t have any either), I would want you to be their favorite aunt!

    Like

  7. You have a tenderness of heart that is an example to me. As mentioned before most would walk right past the boy, not paying attention to the hurt he was feeling. Matt 5:6-7 says something that reminds me of you.
    7 God blesses those who are merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
    8God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
    for they will see God.
    Thank you for being you.

    Like

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