I boarded the A train earlier today and surprisingly found three or four open seats. As I sat down, I suddenly realized why as I caught the odor of a sickly looking man a few seats over. Obviously people were avoiding sitting near him. Partly for the odor and probably because they thought he was some homeless crazy. I saw him making hand motions out of the corner of my eye and noticed him scratching his leg. When I took a closer look at his leg, there was obviously some kind of infection as there was a hole the size of a dime through his layers of skin.
I sat for a bit as people who were anywhere near him took their first chance to find a seat at the other end of the subway car. I had every opportunity to do the same but a part of me felt bad about doing so and I sat their reading. I was distracted though and reached into my bag and pulled out the sandwich I had made for myself and offered it to him. He responded, "You keep it. I only have a few days left anyway." I said, "Then you should enjoy whatever time you have left as best you can. Take the sandwich and enjoy it. You need it far more than I do." He took it from me and I saw a tear form in his eye. What I then saw in him was the innocence of the young child he once was, laughing and playing, and filled with dreams of the future, now sitting on a Manhattan subway car on a cold winters day counting down his last hours in this world.