You looked at me with brown doe eyes, begging me to stop, to listen. You asked for some cash to buy groceries so you could cook dinner at the shelter and feed your children. My face flushed in embarrassment at the weight of the bags full of Christmas presents I was carrying. As we navigated the narrow aisles of a bodega, I tried to get you to shop 'in bulk' so you would have extra food. You insisted on only buying the amounts for the recipe for spaghetti you held crumpled up on a post-it.
When we said goodbye as snow began to fall, the frazzled Christmas shoppers surrounding us like wasps became blurry, their stressed chatter became muffled. You asked me if it would be okay if you hugged me.
You wanted to be me; fed, never starving, going home to a warm apartment on the Upper West Side.
I wanted to be you; grateful of every detail in life, no matter how simple, going back to your children, your family, your loves.
And that is the struggle we all deal with; the want to be someone else.
I hope you're happy.