He stands about 5′ 6″ and weighs about 115 pounds. His skin is the colour of chocolate milk and his afro is dark blonde. I first saw him standing and waiting for the bus one cold morning. My eyes went specifically to him because as others were bundled up in warm winter coats and wearing gloves he stood shivering in a t-shirt with an over-sized duffle bag over his shoulder. My heart started to break as I thought of why this child of about 15 was all alone at a bus stop shivering with no coat.
My first thought was, “What kind of a mother lets her son go outside without a coat on?” then I recalled the many times that I nagged my kids into wearing a heavier coat or putting on a hat or zipping up their coat “to the North Pole.” Maybe he didn’t listen to the nags of his mom; maybe his mom doesn’t care. I felt sorry for this kid.
One night i saw him get on the bus with a friend. There are lots of people that I never see again on the bus. Some are regulars like me, some are just going somewhere one time only. This night, he got on with his friend and they talked the whole bus ride home about their wrestling meet. It must have just taken place because they were pumped about it! I grinned with amusement as they talked about pinning their opponents and how the next time they’d do better.
last night i saw him on the bus, again. This time he was by himself and as he sat he pulled out a yellow t-shirt from his duffle bag. As he studied it, i peeked over his shoulder to see that the writing on it indicated that he was part of team and that there is a competition coming up. I want to ask him about it. I want to know if his parents are proud of him; can they go and see him at his meet? Or is he one of those statistics that we hear about that has an absent father and a mother who doesn’t care? Is this why he doesn’t have a winter coat?
I think i’ll call him “Ben” and maybe someday he’ll sit beside me and I can ask him all about his wrestling. And no matter what the circumstances are at home, he’ll know that someone cares.