Shoulda coulda woulda – 66/100

As I pulled to a stop on the freeway off-ramp today, I saw a brown-clad young man. He waved at me. I nodded my head in acknowledgement. He had a beard that puts most men’s to shame but he looked no older than 24 or 25. He carried a sign, more well-designed than other signs I’ve seen, “Homeless – anything helps. God bless.” Or something along those lines.

I was in my own world, listening to Deepak Chopra read to me, separated from the heat outside by the AC.

Something in me wanted to say, Hi, I’m Grace. What’s your name?

Then, I thought, The light might change real quick. It didn’t, for several seconds.

Something in me wanted to say, Hi, I’m Grace. What’s your name?

I had no cash to give but I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to ask him his name and give him mine if he asked.

Then, I thought, I don’t have cash though. No use in saying anything. He’ll be disappointed.

Still something in me wanted to say, Hi, what’s you – the light changed.

The most surface level of myself said, Well, that’s that. You didn’t have time anyway.

The deeper part of me quietly knew, knew that I had ignored something within. It was not up to me to judge, to decide. As I drove away, I knew I wouldn’t let this go. I couldn’t. I’ve felt this before. Many times. And I knew, I had to release myself somehow.

I hit up a Burger King nearby, went in, thinking, I must be crazy. I must be weird.

And simultaneously feeling nothing. No fear, no timidity, no doubt. Just matter-of-fact-ness. Because I had already ignored the first call.

I order a large combo and nuggets. I didn’t want to get him Coke because that kills your insides, I heard. So I got peach iced tea. I hoped it’d be okay.

I re-parked my car so I could walk over from the plaza to the freeway. I could see drivers looking at me – I was the only pedestrian in that moment. I kept walking.

As I got closer, a thought hit me – I hope he’s still there.

No matter, I kept walking.

As I approached the freeway exit, I saw… he was no longer there.

I grit my teeth and kept walking. Maybe he was on the other side but a part of me doubted it. I walked about 50 meters more, thinking to myself, I have no idea what to do haha!

But I definitely knew how I felt. I felt a damn fool.

I walked back the way I’d come, carrying the cold ass large drink and crinkled brown bag. Drops of sweat condensed and slid down from my pits, down my back.

I got to my car. I laughed out loud. I knew what my lesson was.

Don’t hesitate. There’s nothing to lose but opportunity.

If I had drawn down my window, rolled my car a little closer, and extended an invitation to connect for the sake of humanity, I know it wouldn’t have mattered that the light was about to change or that I didn’t have cash. I could have told him to hold a sec while I get him something to eat. If I had just valued the voice enough to not let go of the moment, none of that would have mattered.

That’s all it would have taken.

I don’t berate myself. A lesson truly learned is a lifetime of guidance. I know the next time something like this happens, I’ll still experience the same moment of decision but I’ll be able to move with just a little more wisdom and trust in myself.

What happened to the food?

I ate it.

I sat in my car and ate almost everything in the bag. Hahah. Here I was, working through my own financial situation, attempting to salvage a moment of my humanity, and eating the backfiring of it all. I guess I was hungrier than I’d thought.

Life. The great equalizer.

2 thoughts on “Shoulda coulda woulda – 66/100”

  1. Awesome story!! Ran into this situation countless times myself. Shoulda coulda woulda 😦 .. But definitely never stopped by a Burger King, and went that extra step!

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