Haunting Eyes

July 11, 2018
By Maddiesg BRONZE, Needham, Massachusetts
Maddiesg BRONZE, Needham, Massachusetts
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

He had haunting eyes. I guess that’s why I took a second look in the first place. They were wild but sad and spiked with a desperate kind of fear that pulls at your heart a little bit. Not like the other beggars I had seen. No, those men had dark eyes. The kind that were always surveying the pavement of Newbury Street in an ashamed manner and hoping passersby would put money in their cups anyways. The man with the haunting eyes had no cup. Instead of slumping against the facade of the brick building, he stood, taking short steps back and forth along a single slab of concrete, moaning with a voice that sent shivers up my spine. “Food pleeeease” his voice was pitched with desperation as he tried to attract the attention of a flock of pedestrians. “Will anyone help me?”

Some people seemed unfazed by his antics, continuing their conversations without so much as a glance in his direction. However, others were not as good at hiding their unease. They shuffled uncomfortably on the curb and pulled out their phones, desperate for a distraction, for a way to forget how cruel and unforgiving the real world can be. But once you met his gaze, it was hard to pull yourself away. He looked like he could be in his mid-20s but the thick, unruly beard and the layer of grime that framed his face gave him the appearance of a much older man. The flannel that hung from his thin frame was much too warm for the sweltering summer day and sweat hung from his hair and dripped down his face, mixing with his tears.

As I loitered on the curb, anxiously waiting for the walk sign, I felt the weight of the bag on my shoulders. The bag that was filled with food which I did not need. Should I give him some? My heart ached for the man and his moaning was almost too much to bear. I imagined that the tables had turned and I was the one standing on his side of the sidewalk, hair unwashed, eyes wild and desperate, stomach rolling angrily with hunger. I would have given anything for a stranger on the sidewalk to show some compassion towards me. However, as I stood before him, food in hand, I still hesitated. Warnings of “stranger danger” and stories of wild men attacking young girls turned my empathy into fear and caused the human in front of me to transform into a monster. So, as the crowd of people began to cross the street, I joined them and left the man on the sidewalk alone. I still wonder if I should have stayed.



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