I sat and smoked a cigarette in the shade of a skyscraper. The sun was finally starting to peek through the buildings but the chill of an Autumn, mountain morning still blew. Dead leaves scratched the pavement as they blew by and into the gutter. I watched a blind man follow what appeared to be a monk. His brown, heavy robe dragged behind him and his hands, hidden in the giant sleeves, were probably folded in silent prayer. He approached the crowd waiting for the bus and they parted. Either out of respect or repulsion because he was either a man of God, worthy of veneration or just another panhandler with an eccentric coat.
He passed somberly through the parted crowd until he got to the 7up machines. There were three soda machines, side by side, all with the green emblem of 7up. Heads followed his brown, robed hands as he inserted his money and got a drink. The noise of traffic was around – regular city sounds but they all seemed quieter as it unfolded.
The crowd, still parted, left a perfect path for the blind man as he clicked his cane in a slow march towards the 7up machines and the monk. Stopping, the blind man’s cane fell on the robe-covered feet and he offered a polite, “Excuse me.”
“Here, take this,” the monk handed him the 7up and, after a long sip, the blind man replied with a sigh and a refreshed, “Thank you.”
“That was nice,” I thought to myself, “he must really be a monk.” It seems that your average person doesn’t do stuff like that. My eyes followed the monk as he made his way to the street corner and I took a long drag of my cigarette, marveling at the simple but rare scene. A real monk doing a good deed, right here in Denver. The monk crossed the street and headed towards my bench where he sat down next to me and crossed one sandaled foot over the other. He let out a soft sigh and turned to me.
The clouds parted and sunlight shone down on his bald head. His brow was moist with a small film of sweat and he furrowed it as he spoke to me.
“Do you have any spare change, mister?”