When I was working as a stringer journalist in San Francisco, California, I already suffered from the deep depression that had hit me hard two years earlier in Spain. There were days in which every move was difficult. But I was determined to go on with my job.
Every day at eight o’clock, I went out of my house to go to Geary Street to buy the morning papers, and around six p.m did the same route for the evening papers.
I passed by two old homeless who were sitting in the street next to the door of a café. One was black and the other white. Probably war veterans.
One day I was especially down and sad and walking slowly because I felt like my body was lead.
When I turned to the Geary street, I heard:
-Where are you going so gloomy? Smile! It’s a beautiful day.
It was the black homeless guy.
Then the other said:
-Yeah, would you marry me?
-Don’t be a fool -said the other- You’ll have to find a job, get sober and all.
By then I was openly laughing
-See? You look beautiful now, said the black guy. A smile changes everything.
They didn’t beg, and I didn’t have any change, so I continued my way to buy my papers and other errands. When I went back, I stopped by them and gave them enough money to buy a good breakfast.
- Thank you, M’am, God Bless You
- Thank You for making me smile
At 6 pm, I came back the same way to buy the evening papers, and the homeless continued in their place. The one who wanted to marry me shacked his can with some coins on it to beg me for alms. He had forgotten his proposal made that morning. But his companion didn’t.
- No, said. Don’t. This woman is the lady who bought us breakfast this morning. Thank you, M’am. God Bless you.
Later they disappeared. Probably went to try a more productive spot in the city.