The birds are chirping on Harrison street at 3 am
I was biking home, it was 3 something am, I hit grace street and kept going up Harrison. I got to that new sweets place. The dude that owns it gave Jade a free pastry the last time we went there, which was both our times entering the store. The man that was in there just moved to America a few years ago and is a student here for English. He said since Jade was a student that they shouldn’t have to worry about paying for food after working so hard.
I was biking down today and I stopped in the store. I said hello and he said hi, but when I said I’ve been here before he looked at me, confused and genuinely trying to remember my face. I said that it was okay and I didn’t matter, and I looked at all of the beautiful things for sale, but i was staring hard at the money tags. I had already spent a lot of money on cards and flowers for my mom, for food to eat today, and I was staring at them- locked in a moment of feeling desire under a transparent surface called ‘familial money issues’ that continued to press my body down into the ground until-
“Are you hungry” he asks? I come out from under the surface quick enough to reply “yes”. He gives me a whole thing from off of the stove and says I can have it. He asks me if I want to get anything, I look at the food, and then the price tag- and asks me if I like baklava and I say yes. He goes into the back and cuts out a whole pie, slowly, puts it in the box, and gives it to me.
He points towards my bike and asks “you work?”.
“Yeah, I work, just not right now?”
“You a student here?”
“Kind of, its complicated”
“Oh, I mean, uh, I was a student here and I might still be later but… I’ve just been taking time to really work hard on things that matter to me.”
His face breaks into a smile and he says
“I can tell that all you do is work hard”
“I watch a lot of anime”
“what do i pay you?”
“Here in America, people only care about the money.”
“You’re such a nice person”
“I’m not a nice person. I’m just not an animal, I’m just human.”
“A boy came in here, he goes to your school. He comes in here a lot and met me when i opened the shop and visits me often. We were joking around with one another and he said something about how i should just go back when he leaves, and i said something like ‘you never know. You might come back and I wont be here anymore’ and when I said that, he started to cry, and his tears to me are worth a thousand”
“My wife holds things in the room here, some for the community, and a woman came here and gave her flowers, they’re all right here. My wife said, ‘why do you give me flowers? I dont even make the food that feeds you, that makes you happy here’. That woman started to cry and hugged my wife. These are things that satisfy me more than money can”.
My life has lots of time been equating success to money, equating talent to money, equating intelligence to money, , thinking about my money, worrying about how much things cost, worrying about my future because of money. Today i talked about money, and school, with a couple different friends of mine at different points. It’s really strange how things change in our lives and things happen, and although we live under a capitalist regime , we must understand that the implications that the umbrella of things we have to do to survive puts us under, shouldn’t be a reason for us to lose our humanity.
I think of my goals. I ask myself, “What would these goals entail if they didn’t involve how much money they got me or how much money I’d make from it?”
Deep breath in, Deep breath out
I noticed that its gotten colder the past couple of days because of how the wind hit the tear on my cheek when I was biking home.
I scarfed down that baclava so fast.
I feel warm.