25 cents

Nashville, Tennessee

 

As I was walking down the library stairs, a man approached me. He had bright, lucid, blue eyes. His grey hair was messy and his gestures were kind and cautious. He asked me for 25 cents to make a phone call. I searched inside my pockets only to find just a couple of them, so I offered him my cell phone, which he rejected. He told me the phone call was for a job interview. I descended to the ground floor with him to get some change. I had the feeling that I had to help him, that he really was looking for a job. He inserted the coin in the payphone after telling me how thankful he was and I said goodbye wishing him luck. I left, happy about the whole situation, and walked towards the house I was staying at.

But then, a thought stroke me: 25 cents. I had given this man - a man who looked like a good person trying to get his life back together - 25 miserable cents. I could have given him the rest of the change from that dollar in case he needed to make more phone calls, I could've invited him to a cup of coffee, or to have dinner. I had arrived to this city for free, I had been travelling, eating and sleeping thanks to people's generosity, and yet I wasn't able to think of being generous myself with someone that actually needed it. Anguish spread inside me like corrosive acid. I stopped dead. I was on a bridge over a wide highway, already far from the city center. (...) It made no sense to come back.

I felt the urge to talk to somebody, to be comforted - but I was completely alone. I tried to accept it, accept my human mistakes. This was a lesson, next time I'd do better. But I wanted to help him, not an hypothetic next person. I thought of the necessity of having certain maxims in mind on a constant basis, and I think this was the time in my life where I've been closer to understanding the essence of religious mindsets. (...) And so I thought and overthought so much that I ended up getting lost and it took me an extra hour to get home.

 

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Marina (Wednesday, 16 March 2016 17:18)

    Esa es una actitud heredada de la sociedad en la que vivimos... cualquier cuestionamiento que uno pueda hacerse al respecto, nunca es un error, ni nunca llega tarde :)

    Me encanta la idea de esta nueva sección, no hay nada más intenso que un diario de viaje.
    Abrazos!

  • #2

    Revolution on the Road (Thursday, 17 March 2016 16:05)

    ¡Gracias, Marina! :)