I saw a man tonight, who ate by himself. Alone at a table in a fast food place. Little children buzzed around him with grime-crusted t-shirts and their little fingers coated in French fry grease. Mothers and fathers filled tables and booths around this man. They ate hurriedly, pausing often to call a child back from the game corner nearby. I watched as the man got confused when his gift card was 78 cents short. I watched as he scrambled slowly and laboriously to find change in his pockets, and coin purse, and wallet. He finally pulled out a five dollar bill and asked that the difference be put on the depleted gift card. He smiled and shook his head as he looked at the floor and talked to himself under his breath. I watched as the line built up behind him, as the cashier laughed politely, albeit nervously, at the man's mannerisms and perhaps the situation. I saw as people pointed him out to their friends. Discreetly and from a distance. He ate alone. Quietly, contentedly, and the whole time talking in a hushed voice as if his very best friend was sitting next to him. The dark night outside the window beside him reflected his gesturing hands and chagrined expression. I felt sorry for him, and all the while hated that response inside myself. If he wasn't different from everyone else, maybe he would be eating with a pretty girl, or have a little child to sit beside him. If he wasn't different maybe he would have a friend. He would have someone who would like him and understand him and want to be with him. If he just wasn't different... The thing is, I don't wish him to not be different - not really. I don't want to change him, I want to change me. He really was so beautiful. So unique and special. He was so kind and interesting, why should it be his fault that no one else can see it, that no one dares to be his friend, to love him purely for just who he is. It's not his fault that that he was eating alone - it's mine, and everyone else in that room, who felt a little uncomfortable, who looked away, who felt sorry for him. I live in a bubble, a place of false security. I want to be better than that. For myself and for others around me. I want to change my world, I want to influence the lives around me. I want relationship to be a tool in my purpose not merely a self-gratifying pleasure. No one should have to eat alone because they are different, because no one has had the courage to say to them, Thank God you are!


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