He stood on the street corner amid the evening rush surrounded by people making their way through the busy streets. His husky voice roared above the noise of the bus engines, the squeal of the subway’s wheels, the pounding from the drumming street performers and the honks of the taxicabs. He chanted the words in a tune that never changed.
“Repent! Repent! Turn back to the hand of God. For the kingdom of God is near.”
He didn’t look like anybody else. His skin was as dark and smooth as black marble, while a crown of silver hair hung down his back. His cloudy bluish-gray eyes were an evident sign of cataracts, and he used his white cane to pace from the street corner to the newspaper stand, his words matching the rhythm of each step. People walked by him as if he didn’t exist, but I was mesmerized by the old man and couldn’t look away.
“Clearly you don’t get out much,” Lisa said, nudging me in my side. “It’s impolite to stare, ya know?”
“He can’t see me. It’s obvious he’s blind.” I pointed at him. “Plus, we don’t get this back home.”
She swatted at my hand until I stopped pointing. “Jesus, Doug. You make us look like tourists. Just take a picture and move on.”
“Watch it, baby. Don’t say the Lord’s name in vain. You don’t want him to rebuke you.” I took out my phone and took a picture. “Do you realize he’s said this about fifty times within the past few minutes? My dad used to always talk this craziness when I was a kid,” I said, taking another picture. “Chicago sure has some interesting folks.”
Lisa nodded. “You mean weirdos? Yea baby, you fit right in. Welcome home.”
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