Bodega Strangers

I regularly visit the bodega on my corner. The workers are quick to smile and make an impact on my morning. The moment is filled with a sweetness, a camaraderie and it is nice, for me, to have spontaneous moments of being part of something nice. It is nice.

Yet this morning, it was scary. There were new visitors in the bodega – two street urchins who were loudly announcing the problems of the world. Their eyes looking left to right, trying to catch the attention of anyone to latch further. I have learned from past experiences – how to avoid this type of latching. So my eyes averted, looking towards the bodega cat, making clear my presence is simple, my mind bland, there is no draw from this one.

those of us familiar with one another, our eyes gloss over and do not gaze, we do not acknowledge with one another the oddities happening. We know it will spark the street urchins.

I left. the worker had to stay, the man who was waiting for his sandwich to be completed had to stay, the two street urchins stayed.

Walking on the path back to my home. and I feel the anger and hopelessness.

Returning later, with my 20 dimes (I pay in coins, it’s my thing, the bodega says “money is money and we like change!”) and asked the worker, was everything ok? those were strange visitors earlier. He said, yes it was unusual. they declared many things and complained about the menu and that only one worker was available.

It felt that had any of us behaved differently, someone would have died.

That is how the world is today.

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