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Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason


to hear it." She chuckled to herself. "I was going to hold onto ten dollars for my son, then I
recognized you were literally fulfilling that man's request: I had no choice but to give my all."
"Literally?" I said, confused.
"Did he not say that any little offer of help would get him back on his feet today?"
"He did, and we gave him almost... no, exactly twenty bucks. That's not enough to get
anyone back on their feet. Probably the opposite," I sniggered.
"The total wasn't important; it was the value of our gestures that fulfilled his request." She
squeezed my forearm. "You took him literally and offered a little help, which represented a view
that would keep him on the streets if he believed he was worth loose change. My reference point
was that he was worth everything I had to help him get to where he had planned on going, but a
concern had distracted him. The metaphor behind him losing focus was that he’d lost his way,"
she chuckled, "just like I left you behind, so my money was more importa ntly a sign that allowed
him to muster that final surge of courage most of us need to complete a difficult journey. In
effect, we cajoled him to keep his appointment. We're a naturally good team."
"It's possible he was a clever junky, or a drunk. You checked his breath," I said, not
grasping her interpretation of events.
Bonnie let go of my arm to gesture. "His manner showed us that he knew he was no one's
victim but his own. At some point, he thought he had it all then lost it, because he thought 'it all'
did not require the maintenance of his care and concern. He had embraced things so tightly that
he squeezed the life out of them—the spirit behind what these things represent. Since then, he
has summoned the courage to start over by focusing his care and concern where he can, like
maintaining dignity by keeping himself presentable. This is the starting point of cleaning up
one's life, and to a man making that climb there are no little things. He appreciates everything, as
you so meticulously noted." She touched my arm. "He didn’t mention money directly; he asked
for help, but he didn’t plead hunger or explain his circumstance because he knew you wouldn’t
have believed him."
"What other kind of help could he have been after?"
"Toothpaste or mouthwash; he covered his mouth because he was conscious of his breath.
His smile revealed good teeth."
"Uh huh."
"It’s logical that he was preoccupied, because he was going to a job interview," she
continued, "and he wanted everything to be the best that it could possibly be. You told him it
wasn’t worth the effort. I told him it was worth everything I had for him to get the last of the
little things he needed on this day."
"What's courageous about washing?" I scoffed.
"His courage was evident in not pretending that his circumstance was anything other than
what it was. He wasn't apologetic, as if he was a lesser man burdened with private failures, nor
was he defiant, as if the world owed him something." Bonnie shrugged. "He's no longer fearful,
so he doesn't need things to validate his self-worth."
"Good thing," I chuckled.
"His physical poverty," Bonnie said, with a disapproving glance, "caused him to see through
the superficiality of the world. Now he is not a poor man, no matter how little he has." Speaking
to a spot on the sidewalk, "If he was an ordinary man," she said enigmatically, "he would make it
back, and never again make the judgments that brought him to us—judgments such as, 'Good
thing.'"
"Are you saying that he won’t make it?"
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