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It is a cool day in November. A brisk windcatches the hem of my jacket and I instinctively hug it closer to mybody. Many people pass me on the sidewalk with a purpose unknown to me.However, the occasional person will catch my eye and I justknow.
A young woman passes me with a small child clutching herhand. They say nothing, but I know their purpose. The twinkle in thegirl’s eye tells me. Their path leads them down the sidewalk andaround the corner, past the drugstore, and through the doors of the petshop.
An old man comes around the corner just before the girl andher mother. He steps aside to let them pass and touches his hat. Thenthe man continues. He walks with a cane, but his grip on it is strong. Istudy his face because his purpose is, at first, hidden. His brow isrelaxed, no troubles cloud his mind. His eyes are bright, he isdetermined. His walk is a fair pace and he takes in everything. Hispurpose becomes clear - to live life. I have the feeling that he will doso to the fullest. The old man passes me as, I imagine, the little girllets go of her mother’s hand to run the last few steps to the petshop.
The sidewalk is clear for a few moments. The wind haspicked up and the sky is growing darker. It is only midday. Ipeer across the street at the window of an electronics store. Televisionsets of various sizes all tell me the same thing: the weatherman ispredicting snow. He must be a genius.
A car comes down the streetquickly. As it approaches, its sleek blackness becomes clear. It pullsto a stop in front of the coffee shop I am leaning against. A man stepsout. He wears a black business suit with an expensive-looking tie.He’s talking rapidly on his cell phone. His pace is one of thefastest I have seen all day. As he enters the building, my gaze focuseson his car. The hood ornament is a cat. Its lithe form appears to jumpright off the vehicle at me.
In a matter of moments, the manexits the building. He holds the cell phone in one hand while gulpingthe coffee clutched in the other. He wastes no time disappearing behindthe car’s tinted windows. The corners of my mouth twitch upwardsas I think about how well his clothing and car match. But his purpose,like his car windows, is tinted. As the engine comes to life and the carspeeds away, I ponder the stark contrast between the old man with thecane and the young man with the cell phone and expensive car.
AsI think, a girl appears across the street. From this distance, I canonly guess that she is no more than 20. Her pace is faster than the oldman but slower than the young man. The smile on her face tells me she isexcited. About what, I’m not sure. She pauses in front of all theTVs. When the weatherman is replaced by the sportscaster, she turns andpulls her coat tightly about herself and visibly shivers. It seems thatjust the thought of snow can make the temperature drop.
The girlcrosses the street a few feet to my left. Now on my side of the street,she continues ten steps before stopping next to a bench. She sits andglances up and down the sidewalk. After a few minutes, a young man herage comes around the same corner that the little girl went around insearch of a pet.
I find my curiosity growing. What kind of petdid the girl decide on? I can see her searching the shop for one rightnow; contemplating the creatures on display, deciding which one will gohome with her.
Then my thoughts return to the here and now asthe man calls out to the woman on the bench. She spots him and jumps upin greeting. They embrace. When they break apart, their hands find eachother as she leads him into the coffee shop. My smile grows as I thinkabout young love. The couple’s purpose is the most clear: to betogether is all they desire.
I feel something cold on my nose andlook up. Snowflakes. Just a few fall, but they are large. A person couldstand in the middle of the sidewalk, look up, and count each one. So Ido, and the snowflakes performing a ballet around my outstretched arms,playing tag with my fingers, and tickling my senses.
Too soon myreverie is interrupted by excited chatter. My attention turns to thecorner. A little girl clutching a small bundle of fur comes into view.Her mother walks next to her. My smile is bigger than it has been allday. I step aside to let them pass. The little girl’s eye catchesmine and she smiles.
The snow is falling harder and faster. Thelittle girl and her mother are gone now. The old man is probablyenjoying the snow as much, if not more, than me. I hope the young manwith the cell phone takes time to enjoy life, wherever he is. The youngcouple is nestled inside the coffee shop. I am alone.
The windseems to possess the uncanny ability to find its way into every nook andcranny of my clothing, face, and body. It sends the air tumbling aroundme, jostling my clothes, and sending my hair into my face. It makes mecertain that everything and everyone in this world has a purpose, eventhe wind.