A man died here today…


This was written on the side of one of the newstands at the West 4th street subway station. I read it and it literally had a visceral effect on me, as I could feel my heart sinking, beating down behind my knees. Eerie.

When the train came and I had a moment to sit down and process what I had read, I was suddenly filled with a strange sense of peace. Not because I find it peaceful to know that a person died in the subway station, but because the fact that a person – a stranger – died and the thought of that death affected me in such a way. It shook me. Damn near floored me. Which means that I haven’t grown totally numb, and that there is still a vent, a crack, a hole in my hardened life-armor, allowing me to be moved by the misfortune of others. As a matter of fact, apparently I’m far from numb, because I didn’t even question whether or not it was real. I mean, it could’ve been some kid trying to be funny. Maybe its a new graffiti tag. Never even crossed my mind. And that’s fantastic!

So…I guess I’m good. My empathy is in check. Shoot…might even drop a dollar in the hand of a homeless man tomorrow. Or at least lift my eyes from my book and acknowledge him. Or at least not tell myself he’s lying. Maybe.



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