The man who stands several feet from the counter when he places his order for coffee, eyes cast down, as if he's aware of his own urine stench.
The tall, lanky one who walks atop his old tennis shoes, like maybe they're too small, and wears his brown and green polyester comforter around his neck at all times, asking for one and then two and usually five cups of hot water a day. He doesn't even know his age, or where his family are, or what day of the week it is, but we know his name.
The ones who sit up at a corner table, passing the day in conversation, clipping nails, pillaging food, cracking jokes that sometimes offend.
The one with the fedora hat that strolls in, nonchalant, and leaves with several bags of groceries he didn't pay for, while my blood boils.
The one-legged man, who stripped naked in his wheelchair and wheeled through the store, leaving a trail of cigarette smoke in his wake. The same one who has a reputation for this - and launching himself face first out of his chair to incur injuries - who the police tire of hauling off to jail so he can have a few meals before hitting the streets again.
When other words, like nuisance or dirty or thief, I'm ashamed to admit, pop into my mind, sometimes I feel a tap on my shoulder and no one is there -- but my soul turns around. Because he is calling. And he calls them Beloved.
Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the community of Five-Minute Friday writers. The prompt this week is "Beloved."