The universe has something to say…

He boarded the green line train at the same time I did. I followed him on purpose to his seat. His punk rock look stood out among the 5:00 commuter dress of uniforms and dress pants. I wanted to sit next to him but an eager beaver sat down in the spot before I could so I stood in the aisle. He settled in and played a game on his phone, like you do.

As we traveled, I could not help but wonder where he was going…home? A friend’s house? Some music show? Maybe he is in a band? He looks like he’s in a band…

He has two black eyes…My eyes are not playing tricks on me…I wonder if he got those black eyes from a fight? Or a mosh pit? Maybe a drunken fight with a friend over a girl (or boy)? Maybe something worse…I wanted to ask him all of these things…and more…

I wanted to know if he had enough money…a place to sleep…enough to eat…was he loved enough…was he safe…but I didn’t.

He stayed on the train all the way to the end, the last stop, my stop…We didn’t speak as we both waited for the door to open. I made sure to smile at him…you never know the last time someone was really smiled at…he smiled a familiar lazy blurry smile back at me.  I walked behind him up the escalator to the exit but he got held back by the Friday afternoon rush to the parking lot and bus lines. I looked back to see that he made it out…What if he didn’t have enough money on his Metro card…I saw him walk toward the Kiss & Ride…he had a ride…that’s good…a friend, I hope…or parent…or sister. Someone with a smile that would ask him about those black eyes…I hoped.IMG_0742

My eyes filled with tears as I walked to my car…every kid I see like that is you. My eyes filled with tears as I remembered your birthday was only a few days away. I cried the cry that you do when you remember…

One day I will get to tell my daughter that we named her after  you…Her uncle…My brother. For now I’ll appreciate the reminders from the universe. It is not the first time I’ve seen you on a train. The first time was on a train between Jesup, GA and Charleston…I gave him cough drops when he coughed…and then stuck all the dollar bills I had in the side of his bag when he wasn’t looking. Even though I don’t know who they are, they remind me of you.

Happy 33rd Birthday.

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