The Shine Part 2
If you would like to read Part 1 press “here”
The old black man in the oversized suit with the tie knotted in a perfect Windsor and the immaculately shined shoes walks the streets of the city and watches its inhabitants with open eyes and a heavy heart.
His cane taps the littered sidewalk ahead of each careful step that he makes.
He stops and watches money and small baggies change hands on the corner in front of the closed down theater.
He inhales a solemn breath and exhales as he walks up to them and by them, only acknowledging them by a slight smile and a tip of his fedora.
As he continues down the block, he passes a small group of teenage girls, each in tears, as they read a story in the newspaper about a young male tv star who has died from an overdose of the same substance he just saw change hands.
“I can’t believe it,” one sobbed, “he was so talented. How could God let this happen to him?”
Once again, the man passed in silence with a tip of his fedora.
As he reaches the square, he sees a man in a very expensive suit on a pedestal, waving the Bible around like a sword, condemning the verdict of a trial.
“JESUS WILL RETURN AND MAKE HIM PAY! ALL OF YOU WHO AGREE WITH THE VERDICT WILL PAY! CAN I GET AN AMEN?” He shouted with vigor.
The small but growing crowd of onlookers clapped and yelled in unison,
The man on the pedestal, stopped his sermon for a moment when a bright gleam caught his eye. His words stuttered as he noticed it was just the sun shining off the shoes of the old black man who was passing by.
The man with the shiny shoes, looked up at the man, tipped his hat, and moved on, cane tapping in front of each step.
The pedestal man was dazed for a moment but quickly returned to his adoring masses.
He returns to the park. The place where he finds he peace and sits on his favorite bench to rest a spell.
He takes off his hat and pulls a bright white kerchief out from the inside pocket of his oversized suit to wipe his brow. He then carefully places his fedora back onto his head and leans back to relax.
As he looks out among the pathways of the park, he sees a site that brings a real smile to his face.
The newspaper writer and the shoe shine boy, walking side by side, engulfed in deep conversation.
“To you, I’m just a poor kid, trying to get by. You see me as a shoe shine boy. I see me as a kid who wants more than money. I want knowledge. I get that by talking to people and cleaning their shoes. I’m happy….are you?” The boy confidently states.
“…Sure I’m happy…I guess…but I have deadlines to meet. Stressful deadlines. If I can’t meet them I will be shining shoes right next to you. You can’t possibly understand.” The writer retorts.
“Not much chance of that,” the kid replies, “you just paid me to shine your shoes and are confused at why I’m happy to do it….you better stick to writing.”
He chuckles and looks away from the writer and over to the bench and sees the man in the oversized suit watching and smiling at him.
“Look, there’s the man you have been bugging me about. Maybe, he can help talk some sense into you.”
The two walk over to bench. The old man motions for them to sit down next to him. Each take their place on either side of him.
He looks at the boy and then at his shoes and says,
“Here sits the boy, who fills my heart with joy. He shines my shoes, and takes away my blues, and makes my time here something to enjoy.”
He then looks at the writer, puts his long and bony arm around him and says,
“Here sits the writer, who lives for the check. He needs approval for happiness, but is always a wreck….not quite as poetic but fitting none the less. How are you young man?”
The writer sighs and replies,
“My Father said he wanted human interest not human fiction. He says every homeless guy claims to be the son of God, but no one believes he is here….now.”
The old man laughed a hearty laugh and replied,
“Your writer instinct led you to fudge your facts. I stated some “claim” I am the son of God….and some “claim” I am a son of a bitch. I made no personal stake in any claim. Your human interest story should have been on the boy here who has a passion and vigor for the good in people that has not been seen in a long time….instead, you wanted to claim fame by being “the one” who met and interviewed the supposed son of God…..no wonder your Father didn’t buy it…I don’t think mine would have either.”
“Must you always leave me with more questions than answers?” The writer asked.
The old man stood up and straightened out his wrinkled suit and looked at the writer square in the eye and spoke,
“That is not my purpose. The answers you seek are within the questions I leave you with and within yourself. Intertwined within each other. Untie the knots and see them both for what they are and not for what your society wishes you to see, and YOUR purpose will be as apparent as the shine on my shoes. Find your purpose….and you will shine. Just as this boy does.”
The boy beamed and gave the old man a wink.
The writer continued to stare and process the words he was hearing.
“I must go now my friends. It is unfortunate, but to be able for me to talk the talk, I must walk the walk. For it is with the walk that I can see what I need to see.”
He tipped his fedora to the two on the bench and walked away. His cane tapping in front of each step.