What the bastard-saint knew

I saw a man walking in a way that said he was a bastard but didn’t much care. I thought to describe him as happy. He may be a saint.

Earlier, without being noticed, I had watched him: He was engaged, listening and talking to a toothless man selling the "Edmonton Street News." He used reckless words—words the toothless man knew. Words that careened along the alley and caromed off lampposts and brick walls. Words that ran through wet concrete and broke through barricades. He hated bloodless refinement, obviously. But was, himself, polite and kind to the ragged man selling vagabond news.

What does mercy look like when it finally arrives without condescension?

We’ve bought some time in this cracked universe. And the sting you feel in the middle of night, is not so different from what the man selling the "Edmonton Street News" feels.

Truth at bottom is this: we’d sooner endure abandonment than suffer a supercilious hand. Truth is, many forms of philanthropy breed loneliness. Truth is, we are carried great distances by simply knowing that someone cares if we live or die.


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