Sunday, October 19, 2014

At the corner of Broadway and Fifth:


Standing on the corner of Broadway and Fifth, in front of the fast food Chinese restaurant, I heard the vibrations of a thirty - something, black man who was screaming, as loud as he could. He was half a block away and barreling towards me.  

I looked down at my phone. 

Living downtown you learn to avoid eye contact with those who are in an aggressive rage. I know a woman who was hit by a man, because she stood there, watching him, during one of his episodes. But it's a delicate balance. I also intentionally make eye contact with several others, because we all crave human interaction and I've come to believe that homeless people become invisible, after a time. I've learned that, sometimes unconsciously, folks act crazy to garner human interaction; for someone to notice them. City living has educated me, for the most part, on how to tell the difference. 

The man's screams echoed off the buildings. My gaze was fixed on my phone. Speed walking and barefoot, I felt him come upon me. Two inches from my face, he screamed, "AHHHHH!!YOU STUPID FUCKING BITCH!!" I could see the leftover lunch in his teeth. I felt the heat of his breath and the palpitations of his frustration and fear.

Immobilized, I stood there absorbing all of the man's hate and rage, as he stormed off, screaming up Fifth Avenue. I didn't dare turn around. Unsure about what had happened, I noticed the light turned green. I stepped off the curb and into the crosswalk.