The Stranger in the Corner

January 22, 2010
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The streets were filled with people and laughter. All kinds of people were hanging out near the big Rockefeller Christmas tree. Flashing lights from thousands of cameras made the decorations on the biggest tree in New York sparkle even more brightly. Everyone was busy taking pictures with his or her loved ones, leaving behind treasured memories. It was another Christmas day, but certainly it was a chilly Christmas to walk alone.

Jake Jacobs suddenly turned back. Aloof from the big tree with lights, he thought he saw Starbucks. He decided to get a cup of coffee, hoping to bring warmth to his frozen heart or feet. The fresh, cold air blew onto his pale face, making his face even paler. He slowly began to walk towards Starbucks. The laughter started to fade away. He was planning to get away from the crowd anyways. Although he wasn’t anti-social he hated the lively laughter and “massive” talking; he hated a mob. He would rather prefer finishing a thick boring book in dead silence without motions.

“Yo,” a stranger called out. Jake stopped walking and turned his head back, wondering if the ‘yo’ had been directed towards him. As soon as he halted, the stranger quickly walked to him with an ostentatious smile on his lips.

“Ya wanna tryout?” asked the stranger. Jake glanced down to the stranger’s dirty black palm; it had a handful of white powder. A cold wind blew between Jake and the stranger in the corner. The corner was dark and nobody could see their shadows. Jake’s eyes twinkled with glaring curiosity. His curiosity slightly disoriented him, so he closed his eyes. The glare was gone, but the curiosity remained.

“Ya want it or what?” the stranger impatiently asked him.

‘Tryout. Like a football team tryout back in the high school days?’ Jake sarcastically thought. The image of the stranger’s outstretched palm filled with the white powder kept on flickering inside his brain. It was a mirage in the middle of desert. It was an adventure. Or maybe it was a test from God. If not from God, it was a temptation from Satan. Jake hesitated. He felt his desire to experience the heavenly ecstasy. From what his mother had told him and what his school had taught him, he was certain that the answer should be a ‘No’ even though he wasn’t a big fan of Christianity or any other religions. After all it was a simple answer. But he couldn’t say it. He was more prone to forsake his self-control rather than fight against his temptation.

“That’s it, deaf man! I been waitin’ too long. This thing is too good for ya! I’mma leave!” The stranger in the corner walked away from him. Jake smiled with relief. Sometimes silence was actually the best solution, although, in this case, he didn’t intent to remain silent. Stepping out of the dark corner, he resumed his walk towards Starbucks and glanced around. The streets were still packed with lively New Yorkers and tourists who were still snapping away pictures. The laughter and small talk continued. Nothing had changed. Yet now he felt as if he had come back home.

He realized that he had missed this lively place during his small detour into the dark corner. It was a chilly Christmas and he was by himself, but he wasn’t lonely. He felt as though he was blending in with the people around him, like blending of a salad and its dressing. Slowly he became a part of the crowd, and it became a part of him. It was a strange feeling, but it felt right.

‘Yes’, he thought, ‘this is the world I gladly live in.’

He opened the door to Starbucks. The cozy, warm air and the smell of coffee welcomed him as if he were a new-born baby. All of sudden his body became warm enough to melt away the coldness that was stuck in his frozen heart without a cup of coffee.





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