Madonna and Child

December 22nd, 2008

She looks to be late 60’s, but is only 53. The street can do that. She has a round face and white hair. He’s young – perhaps twenty. They’re always together. One night they came into the terminal and stopped by the other end of the bench I was on. She meticulously laid down newspapers then sat down. The young man rolled their upright carryall up to her left arm. She got out a roll of toilet paper and placed it behind her neck. He sat down to her right and curled up to her with his head on her shoulder. Family.

They kept me awake one night. They were arguing – loud, passionate. They were circling each other on the platform. Spiraling in to make a point – retreating when overmatched. I overheard only one thing other the throbbing of the diesels1. The woman said, “who told you to stay outside.” Your guess is probably as good as mine. Staying out as it gets colder requires increasing amounts of insulation. At 20 degrees you need almost 3 inches. More as it gets colder. They don’t have enough gear. There are blankets – good ones for outside, dacron, stays warm when wet and dries quickly – waiting for them. If the young man won’t go in, he has to take the gear.

“Don’t need no ticket. Just get on board.”a

1“All you need is faith to the hear the diesel humming.” a

a‘People Get Ready’ Curtis Mayfield 1965.

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