So I haven’t done a daily prompt in quite some time, but it’s a new year and I am fresh off my writing break, if you will. As I sit here in downtown Houston at Starbucks, spinning my creative wheels, in hopes of landing at a destination that’ll add some flare to the word “invitation”; I overhear a conversation a young man is having behind me. I didn’t get a good glance at him when I was coming in, because I was slightly appalled at the seating arrangement in this particular location. The occupancy is only 15, and there were already about 10 people in here at the time. I order my coffee, and search for an empty table. The search didn’t take long, because hello, only 15 people are allowed in here at a time. Luckily, there was one open table available, so I contemplate sitting my laptop bag down and going to the restroom, but quickly decided against that, because I don’t have time to be chasing anyone down Main street for my stolen crap! So I take my belongings with me towards the restroom, and run smack dab into the sign that reads “NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS”, wonderful. So I come back to the empty table, climb my five foot stature up into this uncomfortable, high ass chair, and here I am listening, well let’s call it what it is, eavesdropping on this young man’s conversation, because his voice is so distinct, and full of plea.
“Hi, it’s Pete. I was just calling to see how you’re doing”, the young man says to someone on the phone. You could hear the desperation in his sigh, as he listens to the person’s response, his frustration growing by the second.
“Okay, good. I’ll talk to you later, it’s loud here,” he hangs up the phone and spews several curse words, so I’m guessing he didn’t get the response he wanted.
“Hi, it’s Pete. I was just calling to see how you’re doing”, he says to another person. It’s now obvious he’s on a mission for something, and just trying to find the right person and the right door to walk through.
“That’s good, that’s good. Oh hey man, you know I’m just hanging. I wanted to ask you could you do me a favor, and make me another plate of food? I haven’t eaten in a couple of days and…” he says, apparently being cut off at the end. I now wish I could hear both ends of the conversation, as I’m intrigued, and wonder how long this pattern has been occurring in his life.
“Yeah man, just listen! I can find a way to get bus fare to get out there. I just need some food. Or maybe you can come out this way and we can hang out for a bit?” he asks. Now I begin to feel bad for the guy, because the weather has been crappy all day, and the temperature is dropping by the second it seems.
“Okay, I can call you back, but answer the phone please. You always do this, say call you back and then you don’t answer the phone,” he says. He hangs up, and mumbles a few more curse words.
I hear him begin to gather his things, and before he heads out, I stop him.
“Excuse me sir, I couldn’t help but over hear your conversation, and I do apologize for listening in, but I just wanted to give you this,” I say, handing him twenty bucks. His face scrunches up as if he was going to either cry or smile from ear to ear. He was hesitant about taking it out of my hand at first.
“Go get some hot food and use whatever else for the bus”, I say.
“Thank you so much ma’am, this is the coolest thing anyone has ever done, thank you!” he says with the smile that finally showed up.
“No problem, you take care,” I say with pleasure.
He was still smiling on his way out of the door, and I felt really glad to have made his day. Most of us know what it feels like to be at rock bottom, or close to it. When I think of the word ‘invitation’, there is something all we humans have that need no invitation and that’s love. We can love freely, whomever we choose, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Had the situation with the young man gone a completely different way, I would have still been happy to give him the gift of love. Now that it’s been given, I do hope he passes it on, some way, some how.