Everyone Has a Story

June 27, 2011
It was a day like any other day as far as I was concerned. It seemed my morning walk to work was exactly like it was yesterday and the day before and probably will be tomorrow. The smell of precoooked beef frying in a mass production frier. The light periwinkle behind the clouds. The goosebumps on my arms as the chill settles all around me. The sounds of traffic: people yelling, cars honking, brakes squealing. It was what I didn't notice that made this morning unique.

While I pushed my way through the crowded sidewalks, I failed to notice the boy in the torn shorts, walking a step in front of me. I never knew who he was and I never stopped to ask. If I did, I would know he was kicked out of the house when his mother got remarried. He had two younger sisters he took care of by washing dishes at the coffee shop I went to every morning. I paid more for my coffee than he'd make in an hour. I felt the jingle of change in my pocket as I walked after him into the coffee shop.

As the rich aroma of brewing coffee filled the room around me, I walked right passed the pink covered box full of breast cancer awareness bracelets. I didnt look up so I didn't see the old man holding a little girl, each paying a dollar for a bracelet. If I would have asked, the little girl would have told me her mother just died a few months ago from the cancer. And the man might have mentioned the girl's mother was actually my son's third period english teacher. As I walked out the door, latte in hand, I headed for toward the bank I worked for.

I was running late, I noted, and hurried my pace, unaware of the skinny, matted stray dog that looked up at me with his soft, begging brown eyes. But I wasn't looking. I walked passed him just like everyone else. If I would have know the dirty little dog's story, I would have known he came back to this same house every day. He had been for years. His master, an old man, always use to take him for a walk around this time. But when that poor old man died, his bitter spouse kicked the dog out. But soon the dog was out of sight as I turned the corner and sped toward the towering bank building.

I walked into crisp, working atmosphere and took the last drink of my coffee and casually tossed into a trash can... or recycling bin. I didn't give it a second thought. As I pushed the glowing button for the elavator, I didn't notice a man reach into the recycling bin for my cup and correct my mistake. I was always in a rush and had no time or will to talk to the janitor, so I wouldn't have known he had been there since early this morning and after lunch he had a second job to go to. I never thought about the financal troubles his family was going through. The elavator doors opened and I stepped through as music started playing that my mom would probably recognize.

In the claustriphobic, tight space of the elavator my arm brushed a forty-something woman's faux fur coat. I stepped away as the floors changed. She was just another rich client, and that's all the thought I gave her. If I would have studied her closer, I would have seen the dark circles around her eyes. She couldn't sleep because she was constantly wondering what went wrong in her marriage. She had had a terrible divorce and she's barely seen her two kids since and she's been worried sick. I wouldn't know that though, would I?

Standing next to her was a young, pregnant young lady holding her stomach. I didn't know her, or her situation. If I would have taken the time to talk to her, I would know her boyfriend who promised "forever" left her as soon as she found out about the pregnacy. She was looking for a place to stay and she needed a loan to pay the bills. I would never know, because I was looking at my watch the whole time, counting the seconds. The doors clicked open and I hurried into room 603, my office.

Barely on time, I sat in my familar office chair, picked up my well used pen, and set off to do the same work I did everyday, the same way I always did. The was nothing new about today, I thought to myself.

Everyone has a story. I've just never looked, never noticed, never cared.

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