An interview

Today I spoke with Robert; this was yesterday -

At the end of the work day just after 6 o'clock I found Robert (thought I did not yet know his name) sitting cross legged in the center of the gleaming white tiles between the heavy double set of glass doors to the subway. The King Street subway entrance is essentially the absolute bottom of the 58-storey CIBC building.
Blue fleece, jeans, no jacket, no hat, Robert was looking down into his tattered paper coffee cup. For some time now I've stopped regularly to give Robert my change, a gesture of pity I suppose, but today I had a question for Robert.
I kneel down and immediately start stumbling, "Um hi, um listen, sometimes I see you here, you know, umm, I work in the building and I, well I, I also write some. And umm, I was wondering if aaah if, I could talk to you tomorrow, um, around this time, If I could ask you a few questions?" As four suits briskly blow past us all shoulders and angles it seems, suddenly i realize that Robert needs to man this station for the full extent of the commute and my request is inconvenient and I'm probably wasting his time right now, so I blurt out, "but, i could come later if that's better for you, you know"
He met my eyes some moments ago, but he looks down at his hands covering his cup, one over the other. I look into his face and begin to wonder if some evilous person has ever knelt down as though to speak with him and suddenly jacked him out of nowhere because Robert is slowly receding while processing me, his facing is backup up into his neck as he asks, "Questions?"
I move back a little to increase his sense of personal space and reply, very conscious of my pace, "Yes, I would like to interview you please. I'm Jamilah." I extend my hand and he doesn't reply, so quickly I add, "What's your name?" Now, I catch him; he half smiles for an instant, his eyes moving from my open palm up to my face, and as our hands meet he answers, "Robert."

I submit to you a test of humanity: stop and shake hands with a homeless person, ask their name, speak casually with them for a moment and if you are not moved, then no heart beats in your chest, no soul stirs deep inside you and you are quite likely entirely dead inside.


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