Geodes of Goodness | Teen Ink

Geodes of Goodness

February 24, 2015
By Armor GOLD, Windsor, Connecticut
Armor GOLD, Windsor, Connecticut
14 articles 0 photos 7 comments

I watch him perched atop his throne of worn and tattered cloth. Imperiously, he gazes down upon of his kingdom of shattered beer bottles, cracked by the pressure of misery.  His throne of splintering crates, embellished by an abandoned potato sack and a few balls of dust, creaks against his weight. Moaning and groaning, he shrivels into himself as his gnarled joints cry out against the sharp cold of his frozen cement flooring. A tangled mess of graying hair hangs limply out of a patchwork of moth eaten wool. Elegantly, gracefully, he centers the lacey remnant of the hat around his eyes in an attempt to dim the constant glare of the headlights boring their piercing, phosphorescent intensity into his soul. Religiously, he murmurs his hymns to the mob of people bundled in their warm winter jackets, “Please spare a coin; God bless you all. Please spare a coin, anything.”

Flecks of dust, dirt, and defeat mar the surface of his skin and he attempts to wipe them off with a couple precious droplets of murky water, fished out from a nearby sewer grate, only to realize the reality of his scared, lanky limbs. Memories of warmth flicker across his eyes, opaque blue irises fighting a lost battle against cataracts. Shivering silently, motionlessly, in his pile of threadbare blankets, he struggles to repress the tears cajoled into his eyes by the wind whipping its arctic fingers across his raw cheeks. Invisibility, privilege of the supremacy of his two by four square of sidewalk, distorts his figure and he becomes tired gray cement street and grimy black brick chameleon.

Rigid in a suit fresh from the dry cleaners, a man walks briskly towards the king and his throne. His automated motions, calculated to the slightest bob of his head, propel his robotic figure forward. Navy blue with faint grey undertones, his suit, flawlessly symmetric, protests against every one of his steps. It cries out against the asymmetry of the cruel creases that mutilate its perfection. His shoes, devoid of any scuffs, reflect the grimy polluted morning light. Meticulously, he holds a fixed gaze on his horizon, but suddenly the psalms of the homeless man call his attention and his eyes falter a couple seconds from the city skyline onto the form of the filth encrusted man. Maintaining his façade of aloof resolution, he walks away without seeing, without blinking.
A woman walks up confidently to the king, bronze ringlets cascade out of the confines of her black winter hat. A grey scarf, constellation of loosely knit stiches, rests lazily around her shoulders. In her hands she clutches two steaming paper cups, while a bulging navy tote bag hangs in the crook of one of her elbows. She greets the king enthusiastically, at least I think so. From where I am, secure at my mother’s side, I can only distinguish her animated motions and blatant smile; the words, and their meanings, loose themselves in the tangle of city sounds. She squats down beside him and together they share a coffee and a sidewalk. Suddenly she seems to remember something, turning to her bag sprawled on the corner of the tattered blue blanket she pulls out a sandwich, gloves, an envelope, and hands them to him delicately. She gets up, unravels the scarf from around her, ties it around his neck, smiles, laughs, and walks away into the writhing mass of people.
He stands on the outskirts of the playground. A green chain link fence separates him from the other children. Giggling and calling each other out in a foreign language, the children hysterically run around on a rainbow of recycled tire grains. A yellow giraffe with magenta splotches quivers on its spring, beckoning the boy, teasing him. Cautiously he waddles closer to the playground gate, but the intimidating sounds of the unfamiliar dialect freeze him mid step and he scampers back to his position at the far-right-corner fence post. Nervous ticks overcome his small frame and he anxiously begins to rub his pudgy legs together, as if the friction of the motion would vaporize the electric tension growing in his little mind. Spotting an alluring game of tag he attempts to join the others once again. Casually scraping the top of his shoe against the ground, he starts dragging his foot in the ring of sand colored pebbles that loop their way around the circumference of the playground. Looking back proudly at his staggering line, he continues to limp his way to entrance of the playground, making sure that his back foot continues its lazy and tortuously winding trail behind him.

Standing guard at the playground’s east gate, a hunger burns in his eyes. He continues to contemplate the other playing children longingly. Eyes brimming with tears of frustration, his chin begins to quiver. The briny globulous droplets finally cascade out of their puffy orifices and rivers of snot slither their way down the slopes of his plump rosy cheeks. Witnessing his curious meltdown, a little boy walks up to him cautiously. Defying gravity, his blonde hair sticks straight up, plastered in position by naptime drool. Bending his body awkwardly, as if still unsure of how to manipulate the thing, he squats down on the floor in order to get a better look at my brother’s sobbing face. Fingers groping the inside of his mouth, he stutters a couple words. Bewildered by the strange Italian words, my brother eyes the other little boy strangely. Slipping his slobbery hand out of his mouth and whipping it briskly on his stained, orange sweater, the little boy grabs my brother’s hand and they run off together joining the other screeching children in their game of tag. 
Crack, fizzle, bang! The deafening thundering of fireworks echoing against the crisp silence of the night sends ripples of agony throughout my body. Shuddering from pangs of throbbing, miserable pain, I crumble to the floor. Dying, defeated by the shots of New-Year’s-Eve pyro-technics, I shrink into my ball of protective, solitary misery. Jamming filthy fingers into my ears, I attempt to mute the excruciating claps of glittering thunder. Flowing from somewhere inside me, a tingling sensation creeps into my right ear. It pools around my fingers; it’s cold; it’s warm; it’s there. 

Clenching my eyes shut, scared of experiencing any other sensory details, I remain crouched on the ground. The gruff surface of the cold cement, frozen to a splintering solidity by an arctic December, snags against the microscopic filaments of my jeans. A cruel wind pokes at the uncovered side of my stomach where my jacket rose, and starbursts of goose bumps erupt on my skin where a breeze brushed its icy fingertips.

The spasms of agony vanish for a couple seconds with the absence of fireworks, to be replaced by a deep, abysmal pain and gut wrenching nausea. I moan. Looking up pleadingly to the blank sky, I beg for the end of festivities. A flower of red sparks blooms in the distance followed by the earsplitting bang. I cry out in agony, and mash my forehead against the floor until little grains of sidewalk embed themselves into the surface of my skin. I moan.

Searching desperately for a way to escape the pain, the agony, the present, my body falls back to its last recourse, tears. Hot against the cool skin of my cheeks, the tears engulf my face, enveloping its entire surface with feverish rivers of salty raindrops. An avalanche of snot inundates the back of my throat and I choke on the bitter taste of desolation.

Suddenly I feel someone patting me, and flinch. A woman’s voice reaches out to me over the screaming crowd of people crying out in awe at the fireworks. “Are you okay?” A hand rubs my back in soothing circular motions. I continue crying; she remains at my side, comforting me. Finally, I gather up the courage to look up at my consoler. She is not my mother. Between raggedy breaths and my hysterical sobbing I manage to moan out “I’m so sorry. Thank you. Sorry.” Motherly, she remains at my side a few more moments before returning to her own family. 

In the reality of our self-centered, narcissistic, and egotistic society hides pure and untouched individuals capable of moments of honest and brute sympathy. Despite the human nature’s egocentric disposition and tendency to focus on its personal strife while overlooking the predicaments of others, all men and women alike discover through their actions, or those of others, moments of raw and humble humanity. Though one must not forget or overlook the veracity of mankind’s dark and obscure nature, we must learn to acknowledge and appreciate the phosphorescent geodes of goodness hiding in the dim recesses of the human character. Human empathy, even in its smallest form, affects the lives of others; it has the power to confer a smile, forge a bond, and restore faith in humanity.

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