He Died With His Boots On

 

images The intersection of 86th and Lexington, at the end of my block, has become like the Gaza Strip.  Between traffic, jackhammers and the casual demolition of buildings to make room for one more unwanted high-rise rivaling Tokyo, is daunting to just walk through.

Homeless people perch on all four corners like carnival barkers fighting with one another for space.  Food trucks double-park selling tacos, lamb and caramelized popcorn.

A fat, middle-aged black woman with an eyepatch hands out free copies of Time Out, that even for free, no one wants.

We’re designed to adjust to whatever is placed in front of us, a blessing in our day to day existence, but if flipped over, our acrylic side might be absorbing just a tad too much for morality’s sake.

A man who sits in front of Best Buy with army boots without toes on the coldest of days, like this one, is lying on his side in the middle of the sidewalk, his cup of coins spilled beside him.

People rushing to the train step over him like a human pothole clutching their phones with more value.

Is he drunk at 7 a.m., merely asleep, or frozen solid from being out in the elements too long?

There’s a collective…who cares, gotta get to work, need a cuppa coffee, gotta Tweet what happened last night whoosh, as morning Manhattanites fly by.

I watch as a patrol car finally pulls up dragging the guy to the curb.

I find out later from Gus the parking lot attendant, the man did die from exposure, already replaced by a new tenant who uses his hat for his coins, rather than a cup.

I quickly look to see what shape his shoes are in.

They’re beat up penny loafers, that alas, have toes.

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.
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23 Responses to He Died With His Boots On

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, thank you for writing a story that is so often not told. How sad. I shiver if the temp is below 65. I can’t imagine dying from the cold. I can only hope that you are not the only one who took note of his absence.

    Like

    • It’s such a busy time of day and New Yorkers are notoriously blind to such matters. I was coming back from my run when I saw him. Someone had already called 911 thank goodness, but sadly it was too late. Sigh

      Like

  2. Loretta says:

    Beautifully penned. Sad isn’t it that it has come to that, those boots were definitely not made for walking. ….tweeting seems to be the “IN” thing now? nudge, nudge, wink, wink!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sad that it happens. Locally we have police who drive around to pick up the homeless when the temps drop. Seems effective. Then again, some homeless guy dying on the street doesn’t make the front pages.

    Like

  4. Patricia says:

    So very sad. Sad about the homeless man. But sad, too, about the people walking past him without a pause, there is something missing within them. With that something missing they have no real passion for life and no possibility to know joy. Good for you, recognising a life precious in spite of circumstances.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know what to say, but living here can harden you. There are many scam artists it’s hard to tell the true needy apart. I’m not making excuses, but they grind you down where your compassion goes down a quart. I’m guilty as well on occasion. In this case it was so cold I knew it was for real.

      Like

  5. micklively says:

    The richest nation on earth and the land of the free. Shame on you all! Alas, I cannot pretend that we’re any better. What a mess.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elle Knowles says:

    So sad people are so immersed in their own lives they cannot see past the end of their noses. The world falling down around them has no effect on their contiousness.

    Like

  7. My heart breaks for the invisible of the world.
    Honestly, what have we become? I’m sadly starting to think our new leader is very representative of our truth. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to believe?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. nikkispeaks says:

    I can’t even judge those walking by. New York is a tough place, it can hardened a lot of people. I’ve been working in Manhattan for almost a year. I commute some early mornings before the sun is up. Not that we don’t have homeless in Brooklyn, but in the city it seems every few feet you walk, there is some one. Maybe people don’t look not because their heartless but because the are just so use it do it, that it is normal. Maybe its just easier for them to look away.
    One morning I got off the train at 6:30am. I was early for work, and wanted to walk the extra blocks. I nearly tripped tripped over someone, or a couple, I couldn’t tell, they wrapped up so tight, as I exited the subway. As I was walking, there were people wrapped up everywhere. But as I was walking, there was an Asian girl walking in front of me. I guess she was coming back from a run or on her way to her run, but she was placing white paper bags near sleeping homeless people. I realized she was stopping to buy things from those food truck guys and leaving it while they sleep. It was one of the kindest things I’d ever seen, and will never forget it.

    Like

  9. That’s such a sad story, since probably not many people knew him or missed him, or even noticed him dying.

    Liked by 1 person

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