Each morning on my drive to work, I pass the same middle-aged man standing on the same street corner. He’s bald and has a beaming smile plastered on his face. I can only describe his expression as that of a joyful child, giddy and in awe of his surroundings. In addition to his ear-to-ear grin, he waves with unbridled enthusiasm at every car that passes by. Clearly, this man is in a fractured mental state but, there he stands, proudly waving to the world.
Whenever I pass the man on the street corner, I can’t help but be drawn in by his aura. He oozes happiness that shocks my cranky, sleep-deprived early morning mood. The second our eyes meet and his hand begins to wave, I instinctively smile back and wave in return. It seems strange, but my random exchange with this bizarre stranger always brightens my day, if only for a moment. I wonder if other drivers wave back too, or if they simply overlook his existence and continue on their route.
This week, something unexpected occured; the man on the street corner disappeared. Gone. Just like that. What happened to him? I’ll never know. I drove to work all this week and, admittedly, the ride felt a little less special. I’d like to think he’s still smiling and waving somewhere. Perhaps he just wanted a change of scenery and selected a new street corner to call home. Maybe a good samaritan found him some much-needed help. Either way, I’m going to miss our morning greeting. With so many cars passing him by, I wonder if he ever really saw me wave back.