“Better Late Than Never” by Yolanda Paul
There he was again, peeping through the window with worn, yellow eyes. His coat was moth-eaten and quite shabby. His skin was dirty as though it had not been scrubbed and cleaned thoroughly in quite some time. His shoes had many holes allowing too much ventilation and they appeared to have no soles. The old man shuffled into the coffee shop and ordered his normal cup of coffee without sugar and many times, I would see him looking longingly at the delicious pastries which adorned the shelves. So, I would purchase two doughnuts and a pie for him to eat during the day and also give him another cup of coffee to take with him as well. The man’s eyes would always light up with gratitude and as he smiled, one could see the coffee stained teeth which seemed as though it was never cleaned and as he passed by, one could get the smell of garbage implying that this man lived and slept on the sidewalks. As he shuffled outside again, all the patrons turned to look at him, regarding him as a disgusting, bothersome fly. My kindness extended to the man as I made it my duty to collect old clothing which the neighbours in my street wished to discard and I would give it to the old man when he came into the store. My fellow co-workers questioned my actions and I would just consider it as a kind deed to an unfortunate human. On several occasions, when the old man came into the shop, I would notice the owner, Mr Job, speaking to him harshly and gesticulating wildly, but I never did question his actions for I thought that Mr Job was plainly scolding the man for always coming into the shop and disturbing the customers. A week later, Mr Job’s father died and two days after the funeral, when everyone resumed work, I was, for some strange reason, quite jumpy and nervous. I was also surprised to see that my friend, the old man, had not been into the coffee shop as yet in order to get his meal. This just added to my unexplanative anxiety. Suddenly,...
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