“What time is the next train?” the shrunken old man asked the ticket seller.

“I’m afraid the last train left ten minutes ago.  The first one tomorrow is at 5:25 am.”

Realizing that this was a full six hours away, the old man seemed to shrink even further into his disheveled trench coat.  From my spot on the bench beneath the station clock I could see him sigh as he reached down to pick up his valise.  He shuffled towards me; thread bare Florsheims barely leaving the terraza tile with each step.

As I turned back to my book he gingerly eased himself onto the other end of the bench.  I had to feel for the guy.  While I was young and had my whole life in the backpack propping up my feet, he had very little padding left to protect his backside from the hard metal bench and couldn’t have had much more than a change of clothes in the bag at his feet. Continue reading