She watches from across the street being careful to turn away in those rare moments when he looks up. Dirt and grime obliterate his youth. Matted, filthy hair stands out in all directions. Sunken eyes hide their true color. A permanent frown maligns his gaunt face. She wonders when he last smiled or if he feels anything but pain and despair. If he feels. What does he think about as he pleads so silently? The few who stoop to add to his meager coin collection are barely acknowledged. It's impossible to tell if he's grateful. Does he think about their kindness? Or is his mind stuck in more carefree times, reliving days of fearless joy? She presumes he thinks about the prospect of another night wrapped in newspaper; fixates on his next meal. She cannot be sure because she cannot imagine. He stirs at the sound of coins being dropped into the tin can, shifts his head slightly. But he does not look her way. Eventually, just as she has done every day for seven months, she removes a $20 bill from her purse and waits for the street to empty. Hurriedly she crosses to his side, kneels next to him and works the money into his right hand. Moving her head close to his she whispers into his ear. "Please come home Stephen. Please. We all miss you so much."
3 June 2014