August 18, 2011
July 10 12:30-1:30 pm
Washington Square Park, Walton St between Clark & Dearborn (across from the Newberry Library)
“This is my spot, sorry, but I am going to sleep here now.”
I remember now that I met a man there, a man that said he had been walking all night, and now he laid his head on the bible he carried with him. He said he had not been homeless long, but his home foreclosed. And he could have gone to his parents house, but he was too ashamed, and now he cant really get there from here. He just walks the weekend nights, because the police will chase him out of the park, but weekdays he sleeps here. And he has figured out his temporary survival, and he is praying, he says.
I hand him a plate with some blueberries and strawberries and ask him if he wants anything else. Part of the picnic I am guarding, waiting for Aurora to come back with our Gatorades. I have been sitting with our sign alone after the hug, maybe 15-20 minutes. Some men raise their eyebrows as they walk by, admiring the bright letters, HUG. Some snicker and ask if they can have one. I casually pretend I dont see them. This man, though, this man is more matter-of-fact. He asks me whats with the sign and I tell him about the Hugs. He says its nice, what we are doing.
Maybe you are an angel, he says. He closes his eyes, and is soon fast asleep.