All of this almost blew by me. Because I was too busy hiding in my work, from the warm cocoon of my desk. I’d almost missed Sebastien knocking at my apartment door at 3am. And I knew better than to answer the door that late at night. Which, I guess, is why I’m now sitting on my stoop, watching him shovel food into his mouth, his cigarette ashing itself on the cold breeze coming in, while he spouts some words trying to better explain why he’s here tonight, now connecting me to my past.
Bastien is eating all of the food I was going to throw away. Well, food I thought I was going to throw away. I mean, because, I rarely let food get expired. Usually, I’m waiting until the last possible moment before throwing food away. Here, I just knew I wasn’t going to eat it myself, and feeding a hungry stranger felt like a very convenient opportunity.
He’s thin in the waist and slim in the neck, and I watch food spill out as his gravelly voice stitches together the denouement of his enlightening story, “So after… the police showed up… we ended up… just sleeping underneath park benches… while we were… trying to… find… our next party to crash.” Wine sloshes out of his wine glass onto the concrete stoop. Only me and the moon observing his slovenly ways.
I stare through the wrought-iron fencing at my neighbor’s roof. Its nightly outline perfectly traced across the dark, empty Montrose street.
Really, I should’ve just ignored the loud late-night banging and kept working. Maybe it was guilt that got me to get out of my chair. (It wasn’t trust, that’s for sure.) I guess I had a feeling that I’d been hiding in my house for long enough. And Sebastien looked like he’d been on the streets for quite some time. Like a stiff breeze would knock him over. So, maybe some pity had bubbled up. Not sure what compelled me.
But it’s like my abuelito always said: Nights are good for the streets but hard on the strays.
The norther wind timidly flares beyond a breeze as I try to nonchalantly relight my half-finished cigarette. Air shimmering the moonlight and the leaves above me. The cold of winter is finally coming to replace the normal Houston heat we’d all survived this year. The wind whips quickly around the corner of the building, and I can’t seem to angle the burnt tip toward the wiggling flame…